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Full text of "Wanderings of a beauty :"

I 



S^of 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2013 



http://archive.org/details/wanderingsofbeau01jame 




;0?: , lUBMaTlBR, 1863 



WAITOERINGS OF A BEAUTY. 



21 iSrale 

OF 

THE KEAL AKD THE IDEAL. 



BY 

Mrs. EDWIN JAMES. 



" tu, cui feo la sorte 
Dono infelice di belezza, ond'liai 
Funesta dote, d'infiniti guai." 



FiLICAJA. 



CarletoUy Publisher ^ 413 Broadway, 

(late kudd a caeleton.) 
MDCCCLXIII. 



Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1863, 

By GEO. W. CARLETON, 

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Southern District of New 
York. 



T 



SIR EDWARD LYTTON BULWER LYTTON, Bart., 



IN TOKEN OF 



PROFOUND ADMIRATION FOB HIS GENIUS, 



SYMPATHY WITH HIS OPINIONS, 



THIS WORK 



3js 3nj5£ri6£lr, 



THE AUTHOR. 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER PAGE 

L— Introductory 9 

II.— Courtship 18 

III. — The Stepfather 28 

IV. — The Bridal 36 

v.— A Railway Journey 43 

VL— Home Scenes 50 

VII. — Presentation to the Queen 69 

VIII. — Foreign Travel 68 

IX.— Florence 76 

X.— Coquetry 85 

XL— First Love 95 

XIL -Death 105 

XIIL — Naples and the Neapolitans 112 

XIV.— I Promessi Sposi 120 

XV.— The Grotto of Egeria 127 

XVL— Rossini , 136 

XVII.— The Star of Destiny 145 

XVIIL— A Serious Chapter 153 



viii CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER PAGE 

XIX.— Leaves from a Lady's Diary 161 

XX.— The Sister of Mercy 170 

XXL— Ella 177 

XXIL— The Proposal 184 

XXIIL— Loved in Vain 193 

XXIV. — Correspondence 200 

XXV. — The Baronet 207 

XXVL— Three Months of Married Life 215 

XXVIL— Fifth Avenue Hotel 225 

XX VIIL— Shadows 280 

XXIX.— Foregleams 236 

XXX.— Conclusion 242 



EVELYN 

WANDERINGS 



TRAVERS ; 

OR, 

OF A BEAUTY. 



CHAPTER 1. 

INTRODUCTORY. 

Although linked by no ties of kindred to the 

fair subject of this biographical sketch, the author 

may at least claim to have loved her with a love 

passing that of a sister — to have fully appreciated 

her rare endowments of mind and person, and, 

alas ! to have had too frequent occasion to chide 

her girlish follies, and, in after life, to weep over 

her more womanly failings. Beauty has ever, and 

justly, been styled " a fatal gift." From the classic 

Helen to the lovely and unhlppy Mary Stuart, and 

in more modern times the matchless and queenly 

Antoinette of France all these, and others of lesser 

1* 



10 



INTKODTJCTOKT. 



note, have furnished us with abundant examples of 
the crael destiny of those who possess this much 
coveted distinction. For my part, I can only be 
too thankful for having been endowed by nature 
with a face which the most indulgent of my friends 
could but term pleasing, and which a casual ac- 
quaintance might call plain. Enemies I never 
had ; I was not sufficiently handsome. 

When I first met Evelyn Travers we were both 
Inmates of a Parisian " Pension de demoiselles." 
Although four years my junior, her precociou'b 
intellect and superior talents led her to prefer the 
society of the elder girls to that of those of her 
own age. Our mutual passion for music threw us 
constantly together, and another circumstance con- 
tributed still further to cement a friendship which 
has never since diminished. We were both alone 
in the world. My own beloved parents I had lost. 
My father fell in India, in the field, and my broken- 
hearted mother only survived her voyage home- 
ward to expire in the arms of her only child. It 
was at that time of bitter trial, that the loving de- 
votion of Evelyn to her friend earned for her a debt 
of gratitude which can never be repaid. For days 
and nights did my sweet young nurse watch by my 
bed-side. I would take neither medicine nor suste- 



INTRODUCTORY. 



11 



nance, except from her hands. It is enough to say 
that I recovered, and have since centered all the 
affection of my heart on the gentle and tender being 
to whom I owe my life. She, poor child, was 
equally alone with myself. A father's love she had 
never known, for Mr. Travers died when his only 
child was an infant ; and his young widow, in a too 
hasty second union forgot her duty towards her 
first-born, and placed her exclusive affection on 
the young progeny with which she was annually 
blessing her second husband. The mother of Eve- 
lyn, being a woman of a very inferior order of 
mind to her daughter, with the best intentions in 
the world could never have duly appreciated her. 
One very sore subject with the Dale family was the 
knowledge that Evelyn must eventually inherit the 
whole of her mother's jointure, in addition to her 
own fortune, while the sole heritage of her half- 
brothers and sisters would be the paternal debts, 
which were considerable. All these circumstances 
combined to induce the unloved girl to centre her 
heart anywhere rather than on her nearest kindred ; 
she felt that even school was more to her like home 
than the house of her stepfather, and dreaded 
the hour when she would be forced to leave the 
shelter of its walls for so uncongenial a spot as 
"Warenne Yicarage. How often in the quiet noon, 



12 



INTRODTJCTORY. 



or in the fragrant August evenings of our brief 
autumn vacation, have we together paced the 
gravelled path of the school garden, as I with 
friendly counsels enforced by my four years' seni- 
ority, endeavored to reconcile the weeping child to 
her lot, to impress upon her mind the duty of seek- 
ing the flowers that grow by the pathway of life 
rather than the thorns, with which they are ever in- 
termingled. I must not, however, omit to describe 
my heroine, whom I confess to have regarded with 
eyes somewhat partial — for to me she was the type 
of all that is most lovely in woman. Imagine, 
then, features of such faultless regularity that except 
in a statue, rarely, if ever, have I looked upon their 
like — a complexion slightly tinged with brown, but 
BO transparent that the color deepened at every 
movement, and varied with each passing word. 
Pencilled brows, overarching long almond-shaped 
eyes, whose predominant expression in repose was 
one of pensive thoughtfulness, but which in mo- 
ments of mirth, actually sparkled and danced with 
fun, as the dimples of laughter broke over her 
cheek, and the lips parted to show the pearls within. 
Imagine, too, hair of the softest texture, and of that 
peculiar shade of brown which looks bright in the 
sunbeam, but dark in the shade, and a fairy figure 
which if as yet somewhat too thin, gave full prom- 



INTRODUCTOET. 



13 



ise in after life, of ripening into the rounded perfec- 
tion of maturity. Such is tlie portrait of Evelyn 
Travers, when in her sixteenth year she left school, 
and, accompanied by her faithful mentor, (as she 
would playfully term me) returned to the residence 
of her mother. 

"Warenne Yicarage was a fine old house, full of 
queer old gables, built in what is termed the Eliza- 
bethian style. It stood far back in its own grounds, 
which were parcelled out into flower garden, orch- 
ard, and vegetable garden — also there was a charm- 
ing walk called " the glebe," a series of meadows 
sloping upward, bounded by a pleasant green path 
and a hedge fragrant with the sweetbrier - rose and 
eglantine. In this lover's walk, did we two friends 
pass many a long hour, weaving sweet fancies, as 
hope, that lovely but deceitful syren, lifted for us, 
with fairy wand, the curtain of futurity. Happy is 
it for us, that in youth, the far-off horizon ever 
appears to be bathed in sunshine ! In the dawn of 
life we are like a rose, our illusions the leaves ; 
these drop, one by one, as we bear the burden and 
heat of the day — and in the evening who would 
recognize that flower which looked so lovely, and 
yielded so sweet a perfume, when sprinkled with 
the dew of earliest morning? In truth, a little 
poesy was needed, to enable us to support our sur- 



14 



INTEODTJCTORY. 



roundings with becoming philosophy. The Eev. 
Mr. Dale, the Yicar, had in his younger days been 
a military man, and even in the army had the repu- 
tation of being fast. Indeed, so fast had he been, 
that it was as a ruined spendthrift that he addressed 
the handsome, but imprudent young widow, who 
later became his wife. We fear that in the eyes of 
the admiring lover the lady's jointure was by no 
means the least of her attractions. " Yeni^ Vidi^ 
Yici^^^ was his watchword, and in less than six 
weeks from the commencement of their acquaint- 
ance the happy pair entered into the bliss of the 
honey-moon. Matrimony somewhat sobers a man. 
The reckless spendthrift remembering the old adage, 
" The greater the sinner the greater the saint," com- 
menced studying divinity, with a view to entering 
the church ; for, as his newly-made wife very justly 
observed to her lord, "A nice parsonage would 
save house-rent." In less than two years, there- 
fore, Mr. and Mrs. Dale were installed in a small 
house attached to a curacy. 

As time passed onward the reverend gentleman 
began to evince decided Low Church tendencies ; the 
reason of this became shortly apparent on his receiv- 
ing from an evangelical elderly maiden lady in the 
parish, the presentation to a very fat living, which 
was intended as a provision for her Puseyite nephew, 



INTBODUCTOBT. 



15 



who was by reason of his disappointment driven in- 
to the arms of the Church of Rome. From this 
moment the Yicar became quite a saint — in his own 
estimation at least — and to prove his " title to the 
skies" he condemned every one who did not share 
his theological opinions to the infernal regions. — 
Here let me make one observation, which is that al- 
though I have met many of all creeds, who devout- 
ly believe in eternal punishment— ^/br their neigh- 
hors — and who are quite annoyed if any presume to 
throw a doubt on this dogma of their several church- 
es, I have never as yet met one who expected him- 
self to be eternally lost, or who did not profess the 
hope of salvation he denied to others. Accordingly 
the Yicar asserted about seven times a day on an av- 
erage, that he was sure of Heaven whatever he had 
done, or might yet do, because Christ died for him. 
This pernicious doctrine is, sad to say, frequently 
held by what in England is termed the Low Church 
or evangelical party, in contradistinction to the High 
Church and Puseyites, who are considered, especial- 
ly the latter, to favor too much the Romish doctrine 
of the necessity of good works. All our neighbors, 
no matter how amiable or charitable, were pitiless- 
ly black-balled by Mr. Dale as children of the Evil 
One. Alas, that a minister of our Divine Master 
should 80 far forget that great precept, " Judge not 



16 



INTRODUCTOEY. 



that ye be not judged." Alas ! that he should thus ig- 
nore the apostolic teachings and forget that " charity 
thinketh no eviV^ Our society was naturally much 
restricted ; two or three half-starved curates and a 
few long-visaged ladies of " undoubted piety " were 
alone permitted occasionally to taste of the hospital- 
ity of the Yicar. Hence too we were condemned to 
be present at long family prayers, with scripture ex- 
poundings, and nasal hymn-singing twice a day. A 
lecture in church, a couple of prayer-meetings, and 
another to consider prophecy, we were also expected 
to attend every week in the cottage of some elect 
brother or sister. 

Evelyn, ever impetuous, almost took a disgust to 
Religion held up to her example in so distasteful a 
form. She was young and ardent, and her judg- 
ment was that of a child. " Oh, Mary !" she would 
exclaim, " can Heaven be made up of such people? 
— if so, surely, surely it will not be a very pleasant 
place." In after years my readers will perceive 
that the sentiments of my by no means faultless he- 
roine were greatly modified on many subjects. 

Thus passed the summer and autumn. I had ar- 
ranged (by the payment of a small annual sum) to 
make my friend's home my own. I confess to en- 
tertaining the hope, that Evelyn, surrounded by 
such uncongenial spirits, would remain unmarried 



INTRODUCTORY. 



17 



at least four or five years, when, in my girlish 
ideas, I considered we should, or certainly I should, 
be very old, and sufficiently steady, having joined 
our incomes, to fiy away together to sunny Italy. 
It was, however, otherwise ordained. 



CHAPTEE II. 



COUKTSHIP. 



One morning at breakfast, on opening the letter- 
bag, Mrs. Dale announced to her husband that her 
nephew. Captain Travers, of the Lancers, had 
just returned from India, and proposed paying them 
a visit at Christmas. Had the Vicar been a devout 
Catholic, he would doubtless have crossed himself, 
as it was he gave a kind of holy groan, and rolled 
up his forehead, as he was wont to do when any 
very obstinate sinner was mentioned. The lady, 
however, pressed her point, and at length a reluct- 
ant consent was given, together with the expression 
of a despairing hope that tlie visit of this probable 
child of Satan might eventually " be blessed " to the 
saving of his soul. Mrs. Dale, whose piety was by 
no means so lively as that of her husband, was only 
^too iiappy to have an occasion fur arraying herself 
in some ox the elegant new dresses she had surrep- 
titiously procured at the nearest town. She there- 



COUETSHIP. 



19 



fore lost no time in answering the gallant captain by 
letter that they would be delighted to welcome him 
to Warenne Yicarage. I perceived that Evelyn was 
much preoccupied by her cousin's projected visit; 
our life was so monotonous that any change was wel- 
come, and a young and dashing officer of cavalry 
could not fail to be an acquisition to our very limit- 
ed and somewhat dull clerical circle. Frequently I 
interrupted her day dreams, begging her not to 
imagine she was about to meet her " beau ideal " — 
the hero of her young imaginings — or she would 
surely be disappointed. With a bright blush she 
would reply, " You know, dear Mary, how high is 
mj standard of perfection, and that I hope never to 
marry unless I meet one I can not only love, but 
respect and revere above all created beings. Yet," 
she added with a sigh, " how in this isolated spot 
may I ever hope to meet with such a man? unless 
indeed," smiling archly, " my gallant cousin prove 
to be my own true knight," and springing lightly 
across the room to her harp, she would commence 
singing, in a rich contralto voice, Mrs. Norton's ex- 
quisite ballad, " Love not, ye hapless sons of clay," 
or perhaps one of Moores' delicious national airs. — 
She was one of the few gifted individuals who have 
" tears in the voice," so deep was the pathos, so 
intense the feeling, she threw into both words and 



20 



COURTSHIP. 



melody ; like Orpheus, she might have charmed even 
the rocks. Thus passed the days till Christmas time 
drew nigh, with its promise of turkeys, roast beef, 
mince pies and plum puddings. Mrs. Dale " on 
household thoughts intent," spent many an hour in 
superintending the preparation of mince meat, sau- 
sages, and other delicacies, for country folks make 
all these luxuries at home. Of course your humble 
servant was pressed into the service, but our hero- 
ine, who detested the details of the " menage," (for 
which she was always and with reason scolded by 
her mother), continued to practice her harp and her 
singing, and to write her foolish, romantic thoughts 
in her journal, utterly heedless of all sublunary mat- 
ters, and alike inattentive to the maternal reproofs 
and to the more gentle remonstrances of her Men- 
tor. At length the long-expected and anxiously de- 
sired day dawned bleak and cheerless in appearance, 
but fraught with sunshine to the now cheerful party 
at the Yicarage. Our usual two o'clock dinner was 
postponed to the hour of half-past five to suit the 
more aristocratic habits of the young officer. Even 
Mr. Dale fetched from the cellar a bottle of his old- 
est port, and the whole house wore an air of unacus- 
tomed festivity. Precisely at half-past four, the 
roll of a carriage and a loud ring at the door-bell, 
announced the much desired arrival. The usual 



COURTSHIP. 



21 



kindly greetings over, the visitor was ushered to the 
guest-chamber. I had just completed my toilet, 
and wishing to ascertain if Evelyn had done the 
same, entered her apartment. I was quite struck 
by her extreme beauty. She was robed in an ex- 
quisitely-fitting dinner costume of blue silk, which 
suited well with her delicate features and bright 
but soft complexion. A scarf of white tulle was 
gracefully flung around her shoulders, I may add, 
in the words of Byron, 

" Her glossy hair was braided o'er a brow 
Bright with intelligence — " 

And one camelia from the green-house, of the soft- 
est pink, reposed on her rich and wavy tresses. I do 
not think that Evelyn was then aware how very 
lovely she was, and this unconsciousness of effect 
greatly enhanced her charms. "How nice you 
look, dear Mary," were her words, as she placed her 
arm within mine and we descended to the drawing- 
room. Mrs. Dale was already there, looking very 
handsome in a dress of black satin, her dark hair in 
short curls under a pretty cap of blond and flowers. 
She was still a remarkably fine woman, and had 
she been less stout, would by no means have looked 
her age. A few moments and our newly arrived 
guest entered, ushered in by the Yicar. Captain 



22 



COURTSHIP. 



Edward Travers was a yoirng man of gentleman- 
like manners and prepossessing appearance. He 
was dressed -in the height of fashion, which in 
England means a well-cut coat, white waist- 
coat, an irreproachable neck-tie, and well-fitting 
polished boots. As the captain shook hands with 
us, his smile displayed a fine set of teeth — his eyes 
likewise were good, and altogether, my first im- 
pressions respecting him were agreeable. An evan- 
gelical curate completed the party, and to Eve- 
lyn's horror took her in to dinner — the principal 
guest, of course, being seated at the right hand 
of the lady of the house. Dinner passed off ; and 
shortly after the removal of the cloth the ladies 
retired, and the gentlemen remained to finish their 
wine — a remnant to my mind of the barbarous 
ages. 

In the evening, Evelyn and myself played duetts 
on the harp and piano. She also sang to my ac- 
companiment various pretty ballads, both English 
and German. Meanwhile Captain Travers talked 
much — too much, I thought, during the music — to 
Mrs. Dale ; and at ten precisely the entrance of 
the servants for famil}^ prayers put an end for 
that day to our occupations. 

On retiring, Evelyn sought my room. "Well, 
Mary," said she, " what think you of my cousin ?" 



OOURTSHIP. 



23 



" He appears pleasant and good natured," said I. 
" And you V 

" Oh ! all I know is, that you need not imagine I 
have found my ideal knight." 

" He is, however, good lookmg ?" 

" Yes — has fine eyes." 

"Yes — and above all," I added, laughing, "a 
most becoming moustache." 

" Oh ! decidedly — I confess to a weakness for 
moustache ; one may then be quite sure the man is 
no curate — eh ! Mary ? — But he talks too much, 
and evidently cares not for music." 

Like a couple of school-girls, we continued to 
chatter till near midnight, when, declaring I was 
half asleep, I playfully ejected the young lady by 
main force from my room, and was soon in the land 
of dreams. 

A week passed, and our guest was to leave on 
the morrow. I had ceased to think about him, ex- 
cept as one of those common-place individuals, of 
whom the best description is, that " there is nothing 
in him." He appeared much vpleased with the 
society of his aunt, seeming greatly to prefer it 
to that of his cousin. I was therefore surprised, 
the last evening, to see him bending over Evelyn's 
harp, and addressing her for some time in a low 
voice. I soon concluded he was explaining to her 



24 



COUETSHIP. 



some of the delights of the hunting-field, or, per- 
haps, expatiating on the scarcity of game this sea- 
8k n, and paid no further attention to them. 
Judge, then, how utterly amazed I was, to learn 
from Evelyn, that her cousin had proposed, and 
that she had not positively rejected him. 

" Good heavens !" I exclaimed, " you have not 
been half so foolish ! No — I will not believe it ; 
there must be some mistake. Repeat me the con- 
versation, dear Evelyn." 

" Perhaps, Mary, you will smile at the originality 
of the affair. After many words about nothing, and 
^ a propos' to less, he suddenly said, ' I think I 
shall sell out, and go abroad. Will you consent to 
come with me, and make me happy V Imagine my 
surprise. — What could I say, except that I did not 
know him sufficiently well, and that I would speak 
to my mother — always having understood that is 
the manner in which young ladies reply to pro- 
posals, unless they are really in love — which, of 
course, Mary, 1 am not. E"ow you know all that 
has passed. I shall, after consulting mama, make 
my definite decision ; to-morrow, probably, will 
decide my fate." 

She left me, and I passed a sleepless night ; for I 
perceived no promise of happiness for her, in so 
hasty an engagement. I sincerely trusted her mo- 



COURTSHIP. 



25 



ther would dissuade her from committing so sad a 
folly, and anxiously awaited the events of the com- 
ing day. 

After breakfast, I saw poor Evelyn led into the 
drawing-room, like a lamb to the slaughter, by her 
mother, and left alone with the young man. Sus- 
pense was becoming unbearable, when, after about 
an hour had elapsed, Evelyn flew to my room, and 
flung herself into my arms : 

" Oh, dearest," she said, sobbing, " my only true 
friend, let me confide in you. Last night I went, 
as you know, to mama's room, and told her all, 
adding that I did not love him, and felt no in- 
clination to marry. She chid me, saying I ought 
to consider myself fortunate — that she could not 
imagine why I did not love so charming a young 
fellow, and adding, that *love hefore marriage 
was quite unnecessary, as every well brought up 
girl was sure to love her husband when once she 
had become a wife.' My mother concluded by say- 
ing that if I were so silly as not to accept my cousin, 
she would take no further trouble to introduce me 
into society, and that I must make up my mind to 
live here all my life. So you see, Mary, I was in a 
measure forced to say, that if on further acquaint- 
ance, I could like him, I would be his wife." 

" My poor darling," said I, smoothing her soft 



26 



COUETSHIP. 



hair, "better bear your present troubles than blind- 
ly rush into, peHiaps, far greater sorrow." 

"Mary," replied Evelyn, " do not think me child- 
ish, but I cannot endure this methodistical house. 
Besides, I long to see the world — to go to balls, 
the opera, theatres. Better to be really unhappy 
than die of ennui. The stormiest sea is surely su- 
per iq)^ to a stagnant pool. Besides, he is really 
fond of me. You should have seen how his hand 
trembled." 

I ventured to interrupt her here, and to suggest 
that the hand occasionally shook at breakfast, also, 
when there was no apparent cause. 

" For shame, Mary," she said, (though I do not 
think she then understood my fears,) " indeed I feel 
certain he adores me. I shall be petted, and spoiled ; 
I will do my duty, and try to make him happy. 
Oh I I will be a model wife." 

Tears had already given place to smiles and dim- 
ples, on the face of my sweet friend, and the hope 
of a happier future had brought light to her eyes, 
and renewed bloom to her cheek. I could not find 
it in my heart to dash her joy, so I twined my arms 
around her, reiterating my fervent wishes for her 
happiness, and adding, that whether for weal or woe, 
she would ever find a firm friend, and a loving sister, 
in Mary Mildmay. 



CHAPTEE III. 



THE STEPFATHER. 

In order that our readers may comprehend the 
motives by which some of the actors in this our 
drama of real life were actuated, we must cast a 
retrospective glance at the past and view our heroine 
in her infancy, as the only and beloved child of a 
doting father. Mr. Travers married late in life a 
pretty, penniless girl, and found himself in failing 
health with a young wife and infant daughter to 
provide for. Had this child been a son, he would 
have been heir to landed estates entailed in the male 
line, but to a girl Mr. Travers could only leave a 
sum of money he possessed in the funds, and of this, 
he settled the half on his widow for life with rever- 
sion to Evelyn at her mother's death; the re- 
mainder was left as a marriage portion to the for- 
mer, or, if unmarried, she was to come into the full 
control of her property on attaining the age of eight- 
een, Mrs. Travers acting as sole guardian of her 



28 THE STEPFATHER. 

daughter. A codicil to the will, with pardonable 
family pride, expressed the wish that Evelyn might 
marry the son of the testator's half brother, Edward, 
who must eventually become the possessor of the 
whole entailed family property. Thus having, as 
he thought, secured the welfare and happiness of 
his unconscious babe, the noble father and loyal hus- 
band was called to a better and a happier world, 
where we trust he may hereafter hold sweet com- 
munion with his child when the trials and trou- 
bles of her mortal life shall be at an end. 

Let us now return to our present hero and the lady 
of his dreams. In consequence of the state of af- 
fairs Captain Edward Travers prolonged his stay at 
the Yicarage another ten days, during which time 
the youthful pair took daily walks about the grounds 
we have already described. In the evening they 
sat indefatigably together, and to judge by the ab- 
sence of conversation when in the house, I should 
say they must have exhausted all topics of interest 
during their morning strolls, for they literally ap- 
peared to have nothing to say to each other. I con- 
fess to quite a feeling of relief, as I watched the 
phaeton drive through the large front gates of the 
Vicarage, en route for the railway station, bearing 
the young officer away. I hoped that absence would 
not in this case, " make the heart grow fonder," but 



THE STEPFATHEE, 



29 



that Evelyn would permit her better judgment 
to influence her, and perceive she was on the 
eve of committing an irretrievable folly. I 
was confirmed in this opinion, on observing the 
blank look of surprise, even mortification, on 
her mobile countenance, as she perused her first 
love letter, an event usually so delightful to a young 
girl, and then, without a word, placed the interest- 
ing missive in the hands of her mother. That lady, 
it appeared, was decidedly a friend to the absent. 
She glanced over the letter, exclaiming, as she read 
it :— 

Dear fellow ; how he loves you, Evelyn. See 
how his hand trembled from excitement ; the writ- 
ing is almost illegible." 

And so, in very truth, was it, and horribly ill- 
spelled, if that too, be a symptom of the tender pas- 
sion. The letter, however, commenced, " My dar- 
ling Evelyn," and ended, " Yours for life." 

Now, let me ask you young ladies of sweet six- 
teen, would not your pretty little heads have been 
slightly turned, if you had for the first time in your 
lives, been thus addressed by a good-looking, rich 
young officer, with real moustaches ? And this too, 
even though the orthography of the epistle might 
have been somewhat defective. My heroine, though 
full of intelligence, somewhat lacked that invaluable 



30 THE BTEPFATHEE. 

quality — plain, common sense. ITor was she in any 
way above the faults and weaknesses of her age and 
sex. Let not my readers then be surprised if she 
permitted her own charity, and the writer's evident 
attachment, to " cover a multitude of (grammatical) 
sins." One thing was self-evident from the tone 
of the gallant captain's correspondence, namely : 
that he considered Evelyn as his fiancee^ and wrote 
as an accepted suitor. 

The letter was duly answered, and shortly after 
another made its appearance, which, to judge by its 
defective style, argued no diminution of the tender 
passion, for the lover's head and hand evidently par- 
took of the agitated state of his heart, always inter- 
preting these signs as favorably as did our lovely 
heroine and her amiable mother. On handing the 
second of these interesting documents to his step- 
daughter, the Eev. Mr. Dale expressed the wish for 
a few moments' conversation with her in his study. 
So, immediately, after breakfast we bent our steps 
thither, for Evelyn, who dreaded above all things a 
tete-d-tete with the Yicar, had insisted on my ac- 
companying her. 

I was with some difficulty admitted into the sanc- 
tum. We seated ourselves and prepared for a ser- 
mon. Meanwhile I was secretly rejoicing in the 
idea that the captain's attentions would surely be 



THE STEPFATHEE. 



31 



put an end to, on the plea of his being one of the 
" children of this world." 

" My dear Eveljn," solemnly began the reverend 
gentleman, " I wish to know your exact position as 
regards your cousin." 

" I thought, sir, mama had informed you." 

" Yes, my dear, your mother mentioned to me 
very properly, that Travers had asked your hand, 
but she also added that no definite reply had been 
given to the young man. Has anything since oc- 
curred to alter your sentiments ?" 

" Ko sir ; they are the same as before, or, rather, 
perhaps I ought to say" — turning very red and trem- 
bling visibly—" I— I " 

" Well, child," said the Yicar, smiling, " you like 
him rather better, eh ?" 

" Oh, no sir," said poor Evelyn, almost in tears. 
" Since I have read his letters I fear — indeed — I — " 

" Evelyn," said Mr. Dale, severely, " I am sur- 
prised at your conduct ; you have gone farther than 
a modest girl ought, with any man who is not to be 
her husband. Your reputation — if you do not now 
marry — is lost. You will acquire the name of flirt 
and jilt, and no honorable man will ever again look 
at 3^0 u." 

" But, sir, how could I know whether I should 
like him ?" 



32 



THE STEPFATHER. 



" I tell yon, young lady," said her stepfather, " as 
one who knows the world, and can speak with au- 
thority, "you have been seen too much together, 
and I will add, that as in your unconverted state, 
you could never hope to marry a Christian, you 
should consider yourself most fortunate in having 
attached to you so amiable a worldling. Now, say 
no more, foolish child," (kissing her brow with 
some show of affection. " Go to your mother, talk 
all this over with her, and may God bless you." 

We were leiaving the room, when Mr. Dale called 
Evelyn back, and I heard him tell her, that she 
must, now that she was going to be married, pre- 
pare also to become a woman of business; add- 
ing, " but your mother will explain all " — then, 
in a louder voice, "Mind, child, /have nothing to 
do with it." 

Evelyn joined Mrs. Dale, who usually sat work- 
ing in her morning room. The result of their con- 
ference (to which I was not admitted,) was, that a 
letter was dispatched from his future helle mere^ 
to Captain Travers, giving her formal consent to his 
projected union with her daughter ; and, two days 
♦ later, I was sent to Paris, on a visit to the dear old 
school, with full and ample instructions as to the 
Corbeille de rnariage, which the fair fiancee was 
to provide for herself. Kor was the little busi- 



THE STEPFATHEB. 



33 



ness affair alluded to by the Kev. Mr. Dale forgot- 
ten. A letter of instructions was written by Eve- 
lyn, under her mother's dictation, to her solicitors,* 
Messrs. Takeall & Co., the result of which was 
highly advantageous to the reverend gentleman. 

Let us charitably hope, that in thus sacrificing a 
young, beautiful, and talented daughter, to a man 
she did not love, Mrs. Dale was in a measure actu- 
ated by her desire to fulfil the dying wish of Eve- 
lyn's father. "We fear, however, that another less 
praiseworthy motive had some influence on her de- 
cision. 

By no means so saint-like as her spouse, this lady 
had a great hankering after forbidden pleasure, and 
she doubtless thought in her inmost heart, that a 
yearly visit to a gay and worldly house, she might, 
in fact, term her second home, would be a most 
agreeable change from the rather monotonous soci- 
ety of the elect. If such were her idea, she was 
doomed to disappointment. 

Early in the morning of the eventful day, Evelyn 
was summoned to the sitting room of her mother. 
She was there introduced to the very respectable 
legal adviser of the family, Mr. Takeall, a gentle- 
man of some fifty summers, with a pair of uncom- 
fortable, restless eyes, whose expression was some- 
what concealed by a pair of spectacles. 

2* 



S4: 



THE STEPFATHER. 



" Well, well, young lady," said the man of law, 
very blandly ; " so we are going to be married, are 
we ? — and we wish to be quite a woman of business, 
do we? That's right — that's right. Now, here's 
just a little paper, to which we must put our name 
— of course, with mama's sanction — quite so ?" look- 
ing at Mrs. Dale, who made a signal in the affirma- 
tive. 

The worthy attorney then proceeded to business. 
He emptied his large blue bag of various parch- 
ments, sealed with large red seals, and tied with red 
tape. Among these, (as I afterwards learned,) was 
a deed by which Evelyn signed away in favor of 
her stepfather and his children, her interest in the 
reversion of her mother's fortune. This small sum 
of £15,000 had long been coveted by the Yicar. The 
manner of obtaining it, worldlings would be apt to 
call swindling ; the reverend gentleman, probably, 
termed it, ministering to the necessities of the 
saints." Be this as it may, it was none the less an 
illegal transaction, and caused, eventually, a com- 
plete break between the Travers and Dale families. 

The signatures duly affixed, the wily attorney 
took hold of both the young girl's hands. " And 
now, my fair client," said he, " you have been gen- 
erous — very generous — a good daughter, very. Al- 
low me, my good young lady, to wish you every 



THB STEPFATHER. 



35 



Iiappiness ; and pray remember, Messrs. Takeall & 
Co. will be only too bappy to serve you in any way 
in their power." 

" Thank you, sir," replied the poor victim, strug- 
gling to free her hands, which the bland lawyer 
kept shaking ; " but you forget that a bride must 
dress." 

" Quite so — quite so," said Mr. Takeall, releasing 
her. And as she left the room, he continued, in hia 
most caressing tones, " That's a good girl, my dear 
Mrs. Dale — " a very good girl. You have reason to 
be proud of your daughter, madam — quite so, quite 
so," as he rolled up parchments and papers, and 
stowed them away in his capacious bag. 



CHAPTER lY. 



THE BRIDAL. 

Though the morning of the wedding had dawned 
serene and cloudless, the glare of the treacherou8 
sun of May, was accompanied by the cutting east 
wind, so prevalent in England in that month — fit 
emblem of the chequered course of married life, the 
transient joys of which are but too apt to wither 
beneath the chill breezes of disappointment. My 
young lady readers, never marry in May — that re- 
puted most unlucky month for hymeneal ceremonies. 
As far as my experience goes, I have invariably 
seen this popular superstition verified by the result. 

The wedding of the two cousins was quiet and pri- 
vate, the guests invited being restricted to the imme- 
diate relatives and connexions of the young couple. 
The bride, who was in high beauty, wore over a 
petticoat of white glace silk a richly-embroidered 
robe of India muslin, the gift of her husband, who 
had brought it from India. Her wreath and bou- 



THE BRIDAL. 



3T 



quet were of real orange flowers and myrtle, and a 
veil of the most delicate lace enveloped her youth- 
ful form, as in a cloud. Her two young sisters, a 
friend and myself, in white tarletan, trimmed with 
pink, and looking like rose-buds around a queenly 
white moss-rose, formed the bridal train ; and six 
little girls from the Sunday school, dressed in white, 
strewed flowers in their beloved teacher's path. 
Evelyn, " the observed of all observers," did not, I 
think, appear fully to realize the solemnity of the 
occasion, though I fancied I perceived a slight shud- 
der pass through her frame, as the irrevocable words 
were uttered, which fixed her destiny forever. I, 
for my part, could not shake ofi" a certain gloom, by 
no means appropriate to so festive an occasion ; but 
I tried hard to be cheerful : and it was not until 
the last farewells were spoken, and Evelyn smiling, 
but tearful, was seated in her britschka, by the side 
of her good-looking young husband, that I sought 
the solitude of my chamber, and gave full and un- 
restrained vent to my feelings. 

Evelyn's first letters, though short, were happy 
and hopeful. She made a tour of about six weeks 
in the northern counties of England, visiting also a 
part of Scotland. 

Soon after her return to the house of her hus- 
band, which, my readers will remember, was also 



38 



THE BRIDAL. 



that of her beloved, though unknown father, I re- 
ceived from my friend a long letter, which I shall 
proceed to transcribe, that she may speak for her- 
self: 

EVELYN TEA VERS TO MAKY MILDMAY. 

The Abbey, Woodlands, Derbyshire,) 
July , 18 . 5 

You upbraid me for my long silence and short 
letters, my own Mary, forgetting that I have been, 
for the last few weeks, incessantly on the move, be- 
sides having suffered, with becoming patience, that 
infliction miscalled " the honey-moon," which, with 
the exception of courtship, is certainly the dullest 
and most unprofitable period of one's life. I^ow 
that I am settled in my new home, or rather, shall I 
not say, in my beloved old home, (for was it not 
that of my father ?) I can sit down and endeavor to 
fulfil your wishes, by giving you a detailed account 
of all you may desire to know. 

First, then, this is the dearest old place in the 
world — inexpressibly so to me, for the sake of that 
dear father, whom, though unknown, I love better 
than any living thing. Even as I write, I have his 
full-length portrait before me — of life-size, and so 
like my impression of him, that I should have 
recognized it anywhere. Yes, there are the mild 



THE BRroAL. 



39 



blue eyes, the noble features, the intellectual brow, 
I have frequently seen bending over my couch in 
my dreams, when I felt happy — so happy in the 
thought that, though absent in body, he might, per- 
haps, still be permitted, by a mysterious Provi- 
dence, to guide and guard his daughter. My hus- 
band and myself have an apartment in the left wing 
of the old Abbey, which is completely overgrown 
with ivy. We have a bed-chamber, with two dress- 
ing-rooms attached — a smoking cabinet for Edward, 
full of guns, and ugly-looking hooks to torment the 
poor fishes ; and worse than all — I regret to say — 
the chimney is ornamented with hideous old pipes, 
of all shapes and sizes. There is, of course, a 
drawing room, and the sweetest boudoir for me. 
This completes our suite of apartments. Stay — I 
am wrong. There is yet another room, with hang- 
ings of blue and white, (your favorite colors) which 
I have already named, Mary's " Canserie," in the 
fond hope it will shortly be occupied by her. Am 
I wrong? My boudoir is quite a '^ladye's bower," 
its latticed windows, overlooking the flower-garden, 
include also a more distant view of the park, with a 
glimpse of the blue hills of Derbyshire, the lordly 
Peak towering far above his companions in the dim 
and distant horizon. Our beautiful Woodlands well 
deserves its name ; the Park is rich in its old ances- 



40 



THE BRIDAL. 



tral trees, and abounds in grassy knolls ; and a riv- 
er, sparkling and clear as crystal, filled with trout, 
meanders through the grounds, preserving the 
freshness and enhancing the beauty of the scene. 

Fortunate creature, I think I hear you exclaim, 
and truly, I can imagine no happier lot than to 
have called such a place by the sweet name of 
home in my girlhood. 

But, alas ! as it is, I envy the deer, the birds, the 
flowers, their freedom. Oh, Mary ! when start- 
ing on my first journey as a wife, you placed in 
my hands a volume of Byron, your parting remem- 
brance, you little thought what a fatal gift it would 
prove to me. It has opened a new field of romance, 
and from a child your poor Evelyn has sprung into 
womanhood. I now know the kind feeling I bear 
towards my husband is not worthy the name of 
love. How then could I continue to deceive him 
by permitting him to believe the contrary ? No ; I 
thought it my duty to confess to him that I never 
did, and never could love him. And he — loves me 
better than his dog, and a little less than his horse. 

What a prospect, when one is not yet seventeen I 
You will tell me no one is to blame but myself. 
I deny this. I am the creature of circumstance, 
and could not have done otherwise than I have done. 
But to return to our family circle. You saw my 



THS BRIDAL. 



41 



father-in-law at the wedding ; a good-hearted, frank, 
generous, but somewhat rough, country squire, who 
makes a great pet of his new daughter. His wife, 
a tall, lanky, uninteresting lady, with stony eyes, 
who studies nothing but her own health, fancying 
herself a confirmed invalid. She lives almost entirely 
in her own apartments, only occasionally appear- 
ing at dinner, to which she does, however, most am- 
ple justice. This is the only time she ever sees the 
good squire, her husband, and even then she is bare- 
ly civil to him. 'Not sl very good example for us 
young people. Both parents dote on their only son, 
and each appears jealous of the other's influence 
over him. My father-in-law, with Edward, some- 
times sit too long over their wine, usually, indeed, 
not making their appearance in the drawing-room 
till it is almost time to think of retiring for the 
night, and then they throw themselves into an arm 
chair or on a sofa and fall asleep. It is not, as you 
may suppose, very amusing for me, and only makes 
me pine the more for your society. Do you re- 
member, Mary, how you used to tease me and tell 
me I was not going to marry a man, " but a pair of 
moustaches?" Well, I confess, they may have had 
a ti'ifle to do with it, but only just imagine my hor- 
ror : Edward appeared yesterday morning at break- 
fast shorn of his honors, and on my my exclamation 



42 



THE BEIDAL. 



of natural disgust, he informed me that his name 
having appeared in the gazette as having sold out 
of the army, he was no longer entitled as a civilian, 
to wear moustaches. I never thought my husband 
clever^ I knew he did not care for music, nor under- 
stand poetry, but I did fancy him good-looking, and 
now, Mary, the worst is to come — I actually think 
him ugly — his long upper-lip, robbed of its greatest 
ornament, has such a sullen, almost sulky expres- 
sion, when he is serious or asleep, that I actually 
shudder when I look at him. You who are so sen- 
sible, and posee — excuse a most expressive French 
word — will perhaps not understand this, and will 
certainly blame me, and yet all these feelings are in- 
voluntary. And now, dear Mary, hasten here to 
your foolish, unhappy, childish, but certainly loving, 
friend, who will count the weary hours till she can 
welcome you to her new home. 

Your attached 

Evelyn. 



CHAPTER Y. 



A RAILWAY JOURNEY. 

The country homes of old England, standing amid 
their ancestral trees, what visions of quiet happiness 
do they recall to my mind ! Memory loves to lin- 
ger before thy hospitable portal, oh, Rookwood ! 
and hear once more the kindly greeting of the ami- 
able and affectionate family, some of whose mem- 
bers, alas ! now sleep their last sleep — the others 
are dead, at least to me ; for 

" The absent are tlie dead, for they are cold, 
And ne'er can we what once we did behold ; 
And they are changed — " 

Far more so, than the departed, who ever watch us 
with their loving eyes, changeless, immortal. 

A verdant spot in life's desert was that dear 
home to me, whose halls ever resounded with the 
cheerful laughter of its happy and beloved in- 



A RAILWAY JOURNEY. 



mates — the sisters all that women ought to 
be — the brothers, noble, manly, and gallant 
as the knights of old — the venerable father, in- 
dulgent, yet firm as a rock — the mother, whom 
I never knew, excepting by her portrait, a love- 
ly countenance, gentle and tender as a Madonna 
of Kaphael. 

Each nook and dell of that fair Park is engraven 
on my heart of hearts. On this grassy slope, I 
walked with Mary, as she bent her steps toward 
the village, where the poor awaited her with bless- 
ings. In yonder pleasant path, Anne, the wit of the 
family, almost killed me with laughter. On that 
gently-rising eminence, the hounds threw ofi" — and 
there, after a hard day's run, William, the eldest son, 
who was ever in at the death, presented my de- 
lighted self with the brush. Under the shade of 
those wavy beeches, which every moment strewed 
their leaves in our path, did the graceful and chiv- 
alrous George teach the timid school girl to ride, or 
rather, to manage her rein ; he was a very Bayard 
on horseback, and a kind horse-master to boot. He 
loved to see the noble animals well and judiciously 
treated, whether on the road or in the stable. I re- 
member a saying he had, which amused us all 
immensely — it was this : 



A RAILWAY JOURNEY. 



45 



"ITever 'ammer your 'unter along a 'ftrd road — 
if you wish to 'ammer along a 'ard road, 'ire a 'ack 
and 'ammer 'im." 

George was handsome, accomplished, and good — 
to my girlish fancy, a very preux chevoZier^ sans 
peur et scms re^roche^'' — but he was a decided 
lady's man, and, of course, a passionate and rather 
general admirer of beauty. I knew I was not hand- 
some, so I never again accepted an invitation to 
join that dear and happy circle ; and thus ended the 
one romance of my life. 

But this is a digression. My readers will remem- 
ber the very pressing invitation I had received from 
Mrs. Edward Travers, to join her at Woodlands; 
nevertheless, I judged it unadvisable, for the pre- 
sent, to accede to her wishes, trusting that, thrown 
entirely on her husband for society, the young wife 
might, in time, learn to consider him as her first and 
best friend. It was, therefore, not until the first 
week in October, that I started from Warenne 
Vicarage, at about 7 a. m., for the railway station, 
in order to take the train, which met the express 
from London, as this was the only one which would 
enable me to reach Woodlands the same evening. 

It was one of those lovely and soft, yet fresh 
mornings peculiar to our climate, at this season of 
the year, when the sky, though serene, is not cloud 



46 



A RAILWAY JOTTRNET. 



less, and *^lie air is at the same time balmy and 
exhilarating, and, as it were, charged with vitality. 
The white hoar frost clang like gems to the blades 
of grass, and caused the varied tints of the Autumn 
leaves to appear still more fresh and glowing. 

I, for my part, confess to feeling great delight in 
railway travelling — the commencement of a jour- 
ney, especially if the end of it promises pleasure, 
always raises my spirits in fine weather. 

In England, this mode of locomotion is more than 
comfortable — it is luxurious. The termini and the 
stations are so well ordered, that you may obtain 
your ticket at your ease, without that rushing and 
pushing incident to all other European countries. 
If you have to wait the train, you do so in a clean 
and comfortable room in winter with a large fire ; 
or, if a lady, you can remain in an inner room, with 
dressing-room attached, where you may command 
the services of a female attendant. The first class 
waiting rooms are, of course, much better than 
those of the second and third classes, though these 
also have every reasonable convenience. Should 
the carriages be in waiting at the terminus, (which 
is usually the case) the traveller, after securing his 
ticket, may instantly take his place, and, arrang- 
ing his dressing-case, wraps, &c., comfortably 
ensconce himself in his seat, before the arrival of 



A RAILWAY JOURNEY. 



47 



the less punctual passengers. If our traveller have 
taken a first-class ticket, he will find, even if* he has 
filled a second place with his necessary en- 
cumbrances, he will rarely be disturbed ; for those 
who in England can afford to pay for the besfc 
accommodations, are usually of a class to whom 
good manners are habitual — they will, therefore, 
rather seek another seat than put a fellow-passenger 
to inconvenience. The railway companies being 
most liberal with their carriages, the chances are, 
if you arrive early and manage well, you will 
always secure room for your legs. Six places are 
the usual complement of each first-class compart- 
ment ; these have elastic cushions, and are parti- 
tioned off with arms, like an easy-chair, so as to 
allow the occupant of each seat to lean back. The 
French arrangements are still more commodious — 
while the German second class, " Wagen,'' is equal 
in comfort to the English and French first class 
carriages. These latter, in Germany, are literally 
small " salons," containing a sofa, arm-chairs, cen- 
tre-table, and even large and handsome mirrors on 
the walls. 

What a contrast to the American cars ! Surely, 
Madame de Stael must have had prophetic vision of 
these odious vehicles, when she declared travelling 
to be " Le 'plus triste plaisir de la we" — for I can 



48 



A RAILWAY JOURNEY. 



testify, that the old diligence^ with its numerous 
inconveniences, is as the gates of Paradise, com- 
pared to the straight-backed benches of cotton vel- 
vet, the stuffy atmosphere, and the miscellaneous 
and unsavory company in a Yankee car 1 The 
cowpe of a diligence, at least, permits of cleanliness 
and privacy ; but where, Oh ! ye Goths and Yan- 
dals, may we take refuge, in this land of " liberty 
and equality" — but not " fraternity" — from squall- 
ing babies, tobacco-juice, spittoons, and the great 
unwashed ? 

My readers, even though Americans, must pardon 
these observations. There are very many fine insti- 
tutions in this splendid country ; but there is also 
much room for improvement. 

The American steamboats can " whip all others 
out of creation ;" but land travelling leaves much to 
be desired. All these thoughts might posssibly have 
passed through the writer's mind, had she been an 
American, as she flew, with the speed of the wind, 
through the green and highly-cultivated meadows 
of Merry England, seated in the luxurious fau- 
teuil of a first-class carriage. 

The journey was without incident or accident. 
On reaching the Derby-junction station, the train 
for that Shire, was, in railway phrase, " shunted" on 
to the midland-counties line. A sandwich and a 



A BAILWAT JOURNEY. 



49 



cup of coffee, hastily swallowed, and away flew the 
train, at the speed of sixty miles an hour, through a 
rich country, diversified by hill, wood, and water — 
all glowing in the beams of the now setting sun. 
One hour more, and we stop. I catch a glimpse of 
the most coquettish little hat in the world, shading 
a radiant and lovely young face. Springing out, I 
am caught and kissed, and hurried into a carriage 
in waiting. One moment, and John, the footman, 
touching his hat, says : " Please, ma'am, the lug- 
gage is- all right." A pretty, silvery voice at my 
side, replies : Yery well — home." John mounts 
the box, and Evelyn and myself are once more 
together and alone. 




CHAPTEK 71. 



HOME SCENES. 



Evelyn's home was comfortable without being 
luxurious, and well suited to a family of moderate 
fortune. Charmingly situate, in the loveliest of 
England's midland counties, the house, originally 
an old monastery, stood in the midst of a richly 
wooded though not very extensive park. The 
amusements at Woodlands, as is the case more or 
less all over England, were more suitable to gentle- 
men than to tlie fairer sex. They consisted, princi- 
pally, of hunting, shooting, and fishing in some of 
the trout streams hard by. The Squire, as he was 
usually termed, with his son, Captain Travers, con- 
stantly availed themselves of these facilities for 
sport ; consequently we ladies were left almost en- 
tirely on our own resources. An occasional dinner 
part}^, to which we were expected to drive out some 
ten or twelve miles, in full evening costume, 
perhaps on a snowy night, formed the only variety 



HOME SCENES. 



61 



to our rather monotonous life. These dinner parties 
were altogether ''flat, stale and unprofitable." The 
usual codfish, with oyster sauce, saddle of mutton, 
and boiled chicken or turkej, were served up, and 
flavored by such conversation as the following : 

"A fine day for scent, eh, Squire?" 

" Glorious ; were you in at the death ?" 

" I should say so. By Jove ! my mare's a clip- 
per, I can tell you." 

" Smith, your grey rather swerved at that fence." 

" Why, yes ; my fool of a groom physicked him 
only a week since, and the fence was a stiff-un, but 
he's a very devil to go." 

Or thus : 

" I say, gov'n'r," (the s.ang term for father,) " how 
many birds d'ye sa,y we bagged to-day ?" 

"Well, fifteen brace." 

" No, twenty, I tell ye, all fine uns." 

" That dog of yours, Travers, is a capital setter, 
and no mistake. What's his pedigree ?" 

" Oh, he was got by Tommy out of Fairstar." 

" I should like a pup of his, by Jove !" 

After dinner, on the adjournment of the ladies to 
the drawing-room, the sporting talk commences in 
right earnest, the wine circulating even more brisk- 
ly than before. The married ladies meanwhile stand 
around a roaring fire warming their satin-clad feet ; 



52 



HOME SCENES. 



they complain to each other of the delinquencies of 
their servants, or boast of the beauty and precocity 
of their children. The entrance, presently, of coffee, 
puts an end to general conversation, as the ladies col- 
lect into smaller groups to wait for tea and the gen- 
tlemen. The matrons and elderly maidens perhaps 
indulge in a little scandal as they sip the fragrant 
beverage. The more juvenile damsels talk of balls, 
past and future, and of the delightful partners who 
may have fallen to their lot. Some would be Grisi, 
" inglorious," though not, alas ! " mute," possibly at- 
tacks the open piano with a violence that makes you 
almost imagine she is venting her spite upon the 
innocent instrument, and then in a cracked but sten- 
torian voice, she commences to shout, " Sing me the 
songs that to me were so dear, long, long ago, long, 
LONG ago," accentuating the dashed expletives by a 
shriller scream even than before. At about half- 
past ten enter the lords of the creation, with highly 
flushed faces, and vociferating loudly, the words, 
" my good fellow," "horse," " dog," my mare," 
" that pointer," still forming the burden of their 
song. Yery slight attention falls to the share of 
the ladies. A young curate, perhaps, stands beside 
the piano, turning the leaves of the music-book for 
the squalling songstress. A whist table is frequent- 
ly formed, but at eleven a move is made, and by 



HOME SCENES. 



53 



half-past, the carriage of the last guest has usually 
rolled from the door. 

The cause of Captain Travers' shaking hand was 
now but too apparrent. The captain, I regret to 
say, seldom, if ever, returned home from these din- 
ners perfectly sober, and the old squire, though re- 
joicing in a stronger head than his son, was but too 
often more than " a little elevated." Latterly the 
propensity of young Edward Travers became so un- 
controllable that no invitations ever came from the 
best houses in the neighborhood to Woodlands, a 
very great slight to one of the oldest families in the 
county. 

Our readers may readily imagine that though 
blessed with every outward advantage of person 
and position, our heroine felt more alone even than 
when cloistered within the walls of Warrenne Vic- 
arage. Then at least she might hope for a brighter 
future ; now to hope were a crime, for would it not 
involve the death of another, and that other a hus- 
band. The marriage tie, in its spiritual and inner 
sense, is, indeed, as we are taught to believe, an in- 
heritance from Paradise ; it supposes the perfect 
union of the sexes, so that two separate existences 
become virtually one individual. Neither would 
be complete without the other. Force blends with 
weakness ; firmness with gentleness ; and mutual 



54 



HOME SCENES. 



love and confidence is the crowning bliss of all. — 
But observe the reverse of the picture, alas ! far 
more common than the other side. The hourly clash 
of angry tempers and selfish desires, brutality and 
neglect on the part of the husband, met by reproach- 
es from the wife, and yet with all this, and perhaps 
the vice of intoxication in addition, the wretched 
pair must drag out a miserable existence till " death 
do them part." Happy those countries where di- 
vorce is permitted for other, though not slighter 
causes than infidelity ! 

I mentioned that Evelyn, as a girl, was scarcely 
aware either of heF beauty or of her extreme power 
of fascination. Xow that she had become a married 
child, older women spoiled her, telling her she had 
throw^n herself away, and that with advantages of'. 
person and fortune such as hers, she might have as- 
pired to become a duchess, or, as Evelyn added 
with a sigh, " I might, had I waited, have met with 
one worthy of my love, and have become a happy, 
instead of an unloving and therefore wretched wife." 
Often have I contrasted Rookwood — beloved home 
of the intelligent, the refined, the sympathetic — 
with the scarcely less beautiful Woodlands, the 
abode of uncongenial spirits. 

" Trifles," saj^s a modern female writer,* "make 
* Mrs. Hannah. More. 



HOME SCENES. 



56 



the sum of human things and she was right. Hap- 
piness depends more on the hourly nothings of ex- 
istence than we are fain to believe, and a continual 
dripping of water will wear away the hardest rock. 
Tlie great sorrows of life are rare ; its intense joys 
rarer still; we have it in our power to embit- 
ter our own lot and that of others, or to be to them 
as a ministering angel and thus bring a blessing on 
ourselves. Did the young wife prepare to buy a 
a new dress, her husband would term it useless ex- 
travagance, and refuse to furnish her with the means 
for procuring it, even though these were actually 
of her own money. When she wished for a drive, 
the horses were required to go to cover, or they 
had a cough, or were in physic. Did Evelyn in 
the evening place herself at her harp, and sing in 
her sweetest and most thrilling tones, some of 
Moore's plaintive melodies, or of Mrs. Hemans' 
beautiful songs, tlie " thank you, my dear," of the 
kind but unappreciative Squire, would be echoed 
by a loud snore from his sleeping son, just in the 
most effective part of the performance. Later, when 
her health became delicate, as the prospect of ma- 
ternity dawned upon her, even the visits of a phy- 
sician in an " illness common to all women," as the 
Captain amiably remarked, were an unnecessary 
expense. Let not my readers imagine this was 



56 



HOME SCENES. 



" malice prepense" — it was only selfishness — that 
bane of married life. 

Edward Travers was the only son of foolish pa- 
rents. His mother, selfish herself, and inconsider- 
ate as to consequences, fostered his youthful vices ; 
and even on the rare occasions when the father 
thought it necessary to correct his boy, the silly 
and ill-tempered wife ever took the son's part 
against the husband she so much disliked, and en.- 
deavored to compensate, by a larger slice of cake 
or an extra glass of wine, that which she did not 
scruple to impress on the lad's mind as unjustifiable 
harshness on the part of the governor. Thus 
trained up "in the way he should" not " go," can 
it be wondered at, if he was innately though unin- 
tentionally selfish, and utterly regardless of the 
feelings of the wife, whose sympathies he never 
had ? Mrs. Travers, Sen'r. also did all she could 
to foment the dissensions which constantly arose be- 
tween the two who should have been as one. Even 
the birth of a daughter failed to cement a breach, 
which widened every day. A son would have 
been welcomed with joy by the family, as heir to 
estates entailed in the male line, but a girl was 
considered as a useless and expensive incumbrance, 
by all but the young mother herself. 

After the birth of my little god-daughter, cold- 



HOME SCENES. 



67 



ness and indifference became actual dislike. Eve- 
lyn and her husband scarcely ever spoke, and a vir- 
tual separation took place betweeii them. I remained 
some time at the Abbey, being loth to leave my 
friend under such trying circumstances. Evelyn 
endeavored to beguile the time by cultivating her 
taste for music ; we also studied together various 
volumes, both of ancient and modern history, and 
even sounded the depths of natural philosophy and 
astronomy. Poetry and light literature, she said, 
made her melancholy, as they portrayed untrue 
pictures of life — especially with regard to love and 
marriage. She never would be persuaded to peruse 
any tale which finished happily ; but stories of mis- 
fortune, ending in separation or death, she read 
with avidity. 

This was a most unhealthy state of mind. Eve- 
lyn's feelings were exceedingly embittered towards 
her mother and stepfather, whom she considered to 
have occasioned the terrible mistake of her life. 
Her husband she pitied with a feeling akin to con- 
tempt, knowing that, with a common-place wife, he 
might have become a better and a happier man, 
but confessing herself total Iv unsuited to him. She 
would not, however, attempt in any way to brighten 
his path ; neither would she endeavor to wean him 

from his intemperate habits, which, unhappily, be- 

s* 



68 



HOME SCENES. 



came daily more confirmed. I could not but blame, 
though my heart bled for poor Evelyn ; for I felt 
that, sooner or later, she would learn how that for 
each and all of our wrong doings, and even for our 
sins of omission, a just retribution awaits us, either 
here or hereafter. 



CHAPTER YII. 

PRE 8E NTATION TO THE QUEEN. 

The drama of real life, like that represented 
nightly on the mimic stages of our theatres, 
naturally divides itself into acts and scenes. Will 
our kind and gracious readers be pleased to imagine 
themselves now sitting before the drop-curtain, 
Avhich has just closed aver the first act of our piece? 
In order to put them into an indulgent humor, 
let fancy place them in the best and most commo- 
dious of private boxes, where, ensconced in the 
most luxurious of lounges, and (if a Jady) looking 
most charming in an opposite mirror, they may 
placidly and patiently await the rising of the cur- 
tain. Then let my fair and friendly reader turn, in 
imagination, to the play book, and find that a period 
of some ten years is supposed to have elapsed be- 
tween the first and second acts of our drama ; let 
her point this out to her companion, whom we will 
suppose to be the gentleman without whom even 



60 PRESENTATION TO THE QUEEN. 

the most interesting plot would prove insipid. 
Then let the fair lady and her admirer turn to our 
little stage, and give us their undivided attention. 

The curtain slowly rises, disclosing a gay and 
brilliant scene, the presence chamber at the Court 
of Victoria — that lady, even more royal by her vir- 
tues, than through her exalted position, though that 
were of the highest ever tilled by woman. Graceful 
and gracious stands the Queen, to receive the hom- 
age of the fairest and the noblest of the land. Her 
royal husband is beside her, in the prime of manly 
beauty. In a semi-circle, glittering with diamonds, 
and gold, and scarlet, stand the illustrious princes 
and princesses of the blood ; and still farther in the 
background, appears a scarcely less dazzling group 
of court beauties and gallant cavaliers in attendance 
upon the royal party. The beauteous Duchess of 
Wellington, whose long dark lashes veil eyes whose 
lustre sorrow and disappointment have somewhat 
dimmed ; the brilliant Lady Jocelyn, the queenly 
Duchess of Southerland, all are there in attendance 
on their beloved Sovereign. The coup d'oeuil is 
splendid ; but few who pass before that august cir- 
cle dare raise their eyes to admire it. A moment, 
and the Lord Chamberlain receives a card, and 
announces the name of a lady to be presented to 
her Majesty. The lady, robed in white, steps grace- 



PEESENTATION TO THE QUEEN. 



61 



fully forward, and makes a deep and respectful 
obeisance to the Queen ; another, equally graceful, 
but somewhat less humble to the royal circle, and 
then backing slowly out of the presence chamber, 
receives tbe train on her arm from a page in wait- 
ing — when, no longer under the immediate eye of 
majesty, she is permitted to walk in the manner 
which nature intended. A whisper of admiration is 
heard from many a young scion of nobility and 
officer present. 

" How beautiful !" 

"Who is she?" 

" She must be a married woman." 

" Ah ! it is the new Russian Princess they talk 
so much about." 

" No — it is Baroness What's-her-name — you know 
who I mean — they say the Duke of Devonshire is 
smitten with her." 

" I say, Melville, who is that pretty creature ?" 

The young guardsman either did not, or would 
not reply, though he soon set the matter at rest by 
advancing toward the fair object of all this cross- 
fire. 

" How are you, Mrs. Travers?" said he. " Allow 
me to pilot you through the crowd." 

" Thank you. Col. Melville — I shall most gladly 
avail myself of your escort to my carriage." 



62 



PRESENTATION TO THE QUEEN. 



" How did you get through the presentation ?" 

"Yerj well. Her Majesty appeared in a most 
gracious mood, and the Prince looked splendidly 
handsome." 

" As you do to-day — you are the true Queen of 
the drawing-room." Then, in a lower voice — " Oh, 
Evelyn, let us hasten from this place. I cannot 
bear that another than myself should even see you, 
now that our time together is so short." 

" We shall meet again ere long I trust," she re- 
plied. 

With what coolness and indifference you speak 
of our parting. Ah, it was not so when at Wood- 
lands you — " 

Evelyn's cheek flushed, and her eyes took a dis- 
pleased expression. 

" How selfish you men are ! You well know that 
I am not going abroad for my own pleasure, but 
that I am ordered to Italy to recruit my health. — 
Why, then, blame me for that which is inevitable ?" 

" Blame you^ Evelyn ?" and the young heart 
throbbed, and the earnest eyes filled with a sorrow- 
ful indignation. 

The two walked on in silence — and never did 
mortal pair, since the days of our first parents, ap- 
pear outwardly more suited to each other. 

Evelyn is still all that we have painted her in 



PRESENTATION TO THE QUEEN. 



63 



earl J life — though the varying blush of girlhood 
has given place to the fresh bloom of matured wo- 
manhood, and the figure once slight to a fault has 
acquired that voluptuous roundness, united with 
grace peculiar to the women of Andalusia — for Eve- 
.lyn's mother was. of Spanish extraction. Col. Mel- 
ville is the perfect type of an aristocratic English- 
man — tall and muscular, yet slight ; of a noble mil- 
itary bearing, and a face whose faultless regularity 
of feature might rival even with that of his fair 
companion ; hair of a light brown, curling natural- 
ly like the locks of " the god of the etherial bow 
whiskers of the same shade ; deep-set eyes, where 
sincerity sat enthroned — and a countenance ex- 
pressive of goodness and feeling, still flushed with 
the glow of youth. 

Such is the description of the cavalier, leaning 
on whose manly arm, our heroine threaded her 
way through the crowded reception rooms of the 
Palace of St. James. 

" Mrs. Travers' carriage stops the way," cries a 
voice outside. 

The name is taken up, and re-echoed again and 
again, till it is given as " Travers' carriage," " Tra- 
vers' Brougham," " Towers' coming out." 

Evelyn, hastily cloaking, has sprung into her Cla- 
rence, but not before a tender glance and a be- 



64 



PRESENTATION TO THE QUEEN. 



witching smile, accompanied by a hurried " you 
will dine with me to-morrow, my last evening," has 
quite restored the young guardsman to equanimity. 

Let us leave our heroine to the society of her 
own thoughts, and look once more through memo- 
ry's glass into the long vista of the past. Many 
characters who have once figured in these pages, 
are now no longer living. Mrs. Dale has died, a 
heart-broken woman, most ungratefully treated by 
the husband for whom she had sacrificed her child, 
and her own, and much of her daughter's fortune. 
The by no means disconsolate widower shortly after 
married one of the most devoted of his many female 
worshippers — and his present wife rivals, it is said, 
even that great saint in sanctity. The good old 
Squire has gone to his final account. Peace be 
with his ashes ! — for his vices were born of circum- 
stance, his virtues were his own. 

Evelyn is now a widow. Let us drop a veil over 
the closing scenes of the life of one whose deathbed 
was invaded by the baleful spectres of delirium tre- 
mens. Let us hope that, though disliking her hus- 
band, the wife shrank not from her duty when the 
poor sufi'erer's moans resounded through the cham- 
ber of sickness. I have reason to know Evelyn was 
dissatisfied with herself, when the end came — at 
last unexpectedly, almost suddenly : but I will fain 



f EESENTATION TO THE QUEEN. 



65 



hope she judged too harshly her involuntary short- 
comings. I know, also, that if she in any way failed 
in her duty, her sin has not remained unpunished. 

Old Mrs. Travers still lives, or rather vegetates, 
like some elderly animal of the feline species, who 
passes her time in spitting at any more juvenile 
pussy who ventures across her august path. She 
has gone to live — know not where, and care still 
less. Sweet Woodlands, no longer the abode of a 
Travers, has passed to a very distant connexion of 
the family. Evelyn consequently is still condemned 
to be without kith and kin in the world. When, 
therefore, under the advice of the family physician, 
she decided on a prolonged sojourn in Italy, a let- 
ter was at once despatched to secure myself as a 
travelling companion. I was then, and am still — » 
shall I confess it ? — an old maid — for I was past 
thirty, and unmarried. 

I gladly accepted Evelyn's proposal to accom- 
pany her, but made it a condition that little Ella, 
her only child, should be my especial charge, thus 
relieving he!* mother of some little care and respon- 
sibility. ^ 

The evening preceding our departure, we dined 
at our hotel, in company with Colonel Reginald 
M.elville ; and, as he had politely brought us a box 
for Covent Garden, we left instantly after dinner, 



66 



PRESENTATION TO THE QUEEN. 



in order not to lose the commencement of the 
opera. 

Wliilst my ears were drinking in the magnificent 
harmonies of the " Benediction des Poignards^'^ in 
the Huguenots, and my breath was suspended as the 
delicious tones of the matchless Mario rang through 
the house, in the exquisite final duo^ I naturally 
turned to Evelyn, whom I knew to be passionately 
fond of music as myself, and to be even a better 
judge of it scientifically than I am, I met her 
entranced look : but I saw that Colonel Melville 
had eyes and ears only for her. 

" She was his sight ; 
For his eye saw with hers, and followed hers ; 
Which colored all his objects — she was his life, 
The ocean to the river of his thoughts, 
Which terminated all." 

There was a subdued sorrow in his look, which 
touched me deeply. Does she love him ? I thought, 
as I watched her bright and beaming glance, all 
untroubled by the thought of the morrow's parting ; 
or, can it be that she is heartless, the friend of my 
youth, whom I have loved, and still love so dearly ? 
Methinks, if she ham a heart, she cannot but be 
touched by a devotion so deep. Oh, true woman — 



PRESENTATION TO THE QUEEN. 



67 



" In our hours of ease, 
(Jncertain, coy, and hard to please," 

Who can fathom the depths of thy soul ? My sym- 
pathies from that night were with Melville, and I 
determined any influence I might have over Eve- 
lyn, should be exerted in favor of this, her true 
knight. 



CHAPTER YIII. 



FOREIGN TRAVEL. 

On the very loveliest of summer mornings, in the 
leafy month of June. Evelyn and myself, with the 
little fair-haired Ella, a maid, and a courier, started 
by the mail train for Dover. We were in the 
highest spirits, and anticipated much enjoyment in 
our projected journey. 

If a shade of tender melancholy lingered on the 
cheek of my fair companion, at the thought of her 
recent parting with a handsome and devoted admi- 
rer, it was soon dissipated as she called to mind his 
promise to join us, either at Yeuice or Florence, as 
soon as his military duties would permit him to 
take advantage of the usual autumn regimental 
leave. 

Our journey through " la 'belle France " was a 
hurried one. Our first halt was at Yevay, on the 
Lake of Geneva. Here we remained a few days, 
enjoying the view of the snow-capped mountains — 



FOREIGN TRAVEL. 



69 



Mont Blanc, like a hoarj giant, faintly discerned in 
the distance. "We made a pilgrimage to " Sweet 
Clarens," rendered far more interesting through the 
graphic pen of our own immortal Byron, than as the 
abode of that disgusting sensualist — Rousseau, 
whose writings, (such of them, at least, as I have 
seen), I utterly abhor. 

I may be permitted here to remark, that, apart 
from its exquisite poetic beauties, we found Childe 
Harolde the best and truest of descriptive guide 
books, for a work of true genius in poetry as in 
music, though capable of satisfying the highest 
intellectual requirements, is also adapted to interest 
and please the million. 

At Yevay we engaged a vetturino to take us over 
the magnificent Simplon pass to the head of the 
Lake of Como, whence we intended crossing in the 
steamer to the town, which takes its name from the 
lake, and is situated at its lower extremity. 

The pass of the Simplon presents to the traveller 
every variety of scenery, from the verdant and 
flowery valley, with its murmuring brook and rich 
pasturage, to the rugged and barren heights, where 
eternal snow usurps the place of vegetation, and 
the ear is constantly assailed by the crash of the 
avalanche, as it leaps from crag to crag and is 



70 



FOREIGN TRAVEL. 



finally lost in some unfathomable abyss, into whose 
depths the sun never penetrates. 

Our journey usually commenced at sunrise. 
Having taken a cup of coffee, or a glass of deli- 
cious new milk, we entered the carriage, enjoying 
the exquisite freshness and fragrance of the morn- 
ing air. At about eleven, a two-hours' rest for the 
horses brought us to some shady road-side inn, 
where a breakfast of mountain trout, fresh 
caught from the stream, and perhaps a chamois cut- 
let awaited us. Much less tempting fare would, 
as my readers may imagine, have had ample jus- 
tice done to it, under such favorable circumstances 
for exciting an appetite. 

Between one and two our second start was made. 
Our route, perhaps, then led through a forest of 
pines, rendered doubly aromatic by the magnetism 
of the sun's beams ; or, it might be, the bed of a 
torrent skirted our path, which we had more than 
once to cross, on the most picturesque of bridges. 
The road over this grandly terrible pass is sufii- 
ciently wide to admit of two diligences passing 
abreast, without any danger of falling down the 
awful precipice, which ever yawns on one side of 
the road, and sometimes on either. To construct 
such route over such a mountain, it required the 
genius of a Napoleon to conceive and to execute ; 



FOREIGN TRAVEL. 



Yl 



and each step taken by the Alpine traveller, whe 
ther his way lie over the Splugen, the Cenis, or the 
still finer and more easy Simplon pass, must raise 
his admiration for the herculean labors of this won- 
der-working architect. 

Between five and six, we halted for the night, 
probably in the vicinity of some cataract, the rush- 
ing of whose waters lulled us to that sweet sleep 
which was ever ready to come to our pillow. As 
far as my experience goes, these little way-side inns, 
frequented by vetturini are by far the cleanest, 
best, and cheapest I ever entered ; and from our 
large city hotels, I have frequently looked back to 
their homely comforts with regret. 

Our prolonged journey permitted my turning the 
conversation, occasionally, on Colonel Melville. I 
learned from Evelyn, that her acquaintance with 
him commenced in rather a romantic manner. He 
was hunting in their neighborhood, and in taking a 
leap, his horse fell with him, and he had the misfor- 
tune to break his leg. Captain Travers, who wit- 
nessed the accident, ordered Melville to be carried 
to Woodlands, where, unable to be moved without 
risk, he remained for six weeks confined to his bed. 
Evelyn tended him through his illness, and a strong 
sympathy springing up between tliem, he became a 
constant and welcome guest at the Abbe^', until old 



72 



FOREIGN TRAVEL. 



Mrs. Travel's, lynx-eyed as are most dowagers, per- 
ceiving a growing attachment between the parties, 
persuaded her son to be rude to Melville, and to 
suspect the prudence of his wife. Provoked at her 
mother-in-law's ill-nature, and angry at the unjust 
aspersions of her husband, Evelyn confessed that she 
had kept up a clandestine correspondence with the 
young man, by letter, and also had occasionally 
met him alone in the park. She added, that, aware 
of her unhappiness, Melville had presumed even to 
speak to her of marriage, should she ever regain her 
freedom.* Since her wddowhood, however, she told 
me she had forbidden hiin ever to allude to the sub- 
ject of their future union till a decent time should 
have elapsed since the death of her husband. 

I was glad to receive her confidence, but thought 
it my duty to chide her imprudence, in permitting 
herself, as a married woman, clandestine meetings 
with an avowed lover. I showed her, that however 
innocent her feelings and intentions, her husband 
would have had a right to suspect the worst, add- 
ing that even to Col. Melville she had given but too 
much occasion to think lightly of her discretion, but 
that I trusted having proved that she loved him to 
the very verge of imprudence, she would later be- 
come to him the most faithful and modest of wives. 



FOREIGN TRAVEL. 



73 



"Whatever reply Evelyn might have made, was cut 
short by Ella's exclamation — 
See, mama ! how lovely !" 

We looked — an^ there lay the beauteous Como, 
with her waters of sapphire, sparkling as if 
gemmed with a thousand diamonds, in the beams 
of the mid-day sun, her banks studded with innu- 
merable villas, white as Parian marble. We reach- 
ed Colico in time to take the steamer to the foot of 
the lake. At the small town of Como we found the 
train waiting to convey us to Milan. 

I will not here detain my readers to describe the 
fine Cathedral, with its lofty dome, filled with that 
" dim religious light," which insensibly recalls us 
from the multiform distractions of daily life, and 
disposes the mind to devotion. I pity the man 
who could enter such an edifice without breathing a 
prayer, however short, to the Author of all good. I 
do not envy him, if he could leave that sacred 
building, and not feel, at least momentarily, the 
desire to become " a wiser and a better man." 

We remained but one day in Milan — ^jnst glanced 
at Padua, Mantua, Yerona — all interesting cities in 
themselves, but still more so from the association 
of their names in the divine comedies of the '^sweet 
Bwan of Avon," our own immortal Shakespeare. — 
These fair cities were powerless to arrest our steps. 

4 



74 



FOREIGN TRAVEL. 



A fever was upon our spirits, wMcli brooked not 
delay — and wherefore? Beautiful city of my 
dreams ! thou " sea Cybele," rising from the blue 
waters of the Adriatic, with thy numerous palaces 
and thy countless spires, gleaming so white in the 
pure Italian moonlight — was it not to look upon 
thy loveliness as in a vision, that we pressed on- 
ward, and still onward, as the young lover to greet 
his beloved. The stormy ocean kisses thy marble 
feet in homage — wert thou not his bride of old ? — 
Thou most silent Queen, dost thou mourn in voice- 
less grief the decay of thy sculptured halls, once so 
brilliant in the festive scene, ere yet untrodden by 
the armed heel of the ruthless Saxon ? Or dost 
thou weep in thy desolation for thy dark-eyed sons, 
whose godlike brows are bowed down, and whose 
cheeks pale beneath the yoke of the stranger ? Oh, 
Garibaldi ! hero of the lion heart, how long 
wilt thou leave her in her anguish, a slave amid 
slaves 1 

Fairy-like and unreal appeared that city to us, and 
yet so like my young imaginings, that I sometimes 
doubted whether I actually beheld fair Venice with 
my waking eyes. ^ Those hearse-like gondolas, how 
silently do they thread the streets ; only the cease- 
less plash of the water is heard on the steps of the 
palaces — now, alas ! crumbling into ruins. Look- 



FOREIGN TRAVEL. 



75 



ing on the Piazza di San Marco, I could not divest 
myself of the idea that I beheld a scene at the ope- 
ra — there was the Basilico, the costumes, the moon- 
light — all that I had seen so frequently portrayed at 
Covent Garden, and her Majesty's theatre. Nor 
was music wanting to complete the illusion. Airs 
from Marino Faliero, Othello, and other familiar 
strains, were played by the Austrian band; and as 
we sipped our coffee, or ate our ices, seated under 
the trees in this beautiful piazza, Evelyn would de- 
clare that it was not possible to live at Yenice with- 
out an Amoroso^ and even my old maidhood 
confessed that the softly voluptuous breezes, the 
dream-like beauty of the city, the seclusion ot the 
gondolas — all spake to the fancy, of love, mystery, 
and romance. 



CHAPTER IX. 



FLORENCE. 

Summer had now given place to Autumn, with its 
treasures of corn and wine ; not that pallid season, 
half-summer, half-winter, of our more northern 
climes — but the glowing Autumn of Italy, when 
the purple clusters of grapes hang pendent from the 
trellised arbor of vine-leaves over-head ; when the 
orange groves are fragrant with their golden fruit, 
and the luscious fig and dark olive grove invite the 
traveller to refreshment and repose. 

On quitting Venice, we had decided on retracing 
our steps, in order to visit the cities we had not yet 
seen. From Genoa we followed the beautiful coast 
road to Pisa, whence we took rail to Florence, 
arriving there towards the latter part of Septem- 
ber. We thus had time to visit the various galle- 
ries and artistic curiosities of the city of the Medici, 
previously to the commencement of the fashionable 
season, when Florence is usually thronged with 



FLORENCE. 



77 



strangers. "We engaged a fine apartment — " primo 
piano" — (first floor) on the Lungo L'Arno, consid- 
ered the best situation by strangers, though not by 
the Florentines themselves, who call it unhealthy. 
Nor are they wrong — for the Arno, like the Tiber, 
is a yellow, dirty stream, unpoetic to the eye, and 
frequently most unsavory to another sense. Florence 
nevertheless well deserves her name of La bella." 
The town is built on either side of the river, which 
is spanned by five exquisitely light and well pro- 
portioned bridges, each of which differs in the style 
of its architecture from the others. These bridges 
unite the two cities as it were into one. As is usual, 
one side of the river monopolizes the rank and fash- 
ion of Florence, although the grand ducal palace of 
Pitti is situate on its opposite and quieter border. 
Our first visit was of course to the " Palazzo d'egli 
TJffigiis, " to view the celebrated Yenus de Medi- 
cis. We expected much, and were therefore of 
course disappointed. The figure is artistically 
perfect ; perhaps this very perfection causes the 
effect to be cold and unsympathetic. The face, too, 
is entirely without expression. She resembles ra- 
ther a young nymph of Diana than the goddess of 
love and beauty, whose voluptuous charms are far 
better portrayed in the statue called the Yenus of 



rs 



FLORENCE. 



the Capitol in Rome — infinitely superior, in my 
opinion, to her Florentine sister. 

At the Pitti Palace, we spent hours wrapped in 
silent contemplation before that superhuman paint- 
ing, the divine Madonna della Seggiola of Kaphael 
Sanzio. Most of my readers will be familiar with 
the copies of this picture, but these, one and all 
will give them but a very imperfect idea of the ori- 
ginal, which cannot he reproduced. The features 
and complexion may, it is true, be copied — but 
who but the immortal Raphael could represent 
the infinitely tender and happy, yet half wondering 
look of the young mother, as she clasps that myste- 
rious Babe to her virgin breast ! Who but he might 
portray those dove-like eyes, welling over witli ma- 
ternal love ? Yerily it was given to that wondrous 
poet-painter alone to reveal to mortal sight the 
spotless Mary, who "kept all these things, and 
pondered them in her heart." And even he must 
have used as his brush a plume fresh plucked from 
an angel's wing, all bright and glowing with the 
hues of Paradise. Observe, too, the look of 
thought, far beyond his years, which almost casts 
tlie shadow of coming sorrow over the baby brow 
of that divine Infant. Genius, highest gift of hea- 
ven I how glorious are thy works ! — how godlike 
thy mission upon earth ! 



FLORENCE. 



79 



Strangers were now fast pouring into Florence, 
and the winter was expected to be unusually bril- 
liant. Col. Melville arrived, and became the con- 
stant companion of our walks and drives, and a 
welcome guest at our dinner table. Evelyn treated 
liim kindly — at times almost as an accepted lover, 
whilst at others she appeared to weary of his socie- 
ty, and to long for change and excitement. High- 
ly fitted to shine in the scilon^ and passionately fond 
of amusement, our heroine had never, as yet, been 
able fully to gratify her taste for the world, which 
from the very novelty of its pleasures to her, now 
became her idol. An all-engrossing affection, it 
may be imagined, like that of Melville, rather net- 
tled and annoyed her ; she hated restraint, desired 
to be uncontrolled mistress of her actions, to dance 
when and with whom she pleased, and to accept the 
homage of the favored few. I will do her the jus- 
tice to say she never cared to attract the notice of 
the million, and had a perfect horror of the street 
admiration so usual on the Continent. 

Melville was jealous. He could not view with 
calmness the smiles of the lady of his love lavished 
on another. He would leave the room — perhaps 
the house — and not return, till a small, rose-colored 
missive would once again recall him to the side of 
his fair tormentor. 



80 



FLORENCE. 



With all this, Evelyn was not a deliberate co- 
quette. She admired and esteemed Melville, and 
appreciated his devotion with her whole heart — but 
unhappily she fell into that fatal mistake common to 
beauties, that affection such as his, is of every 
day occurrence, and to be considered merely as the 
meed due to her charms. How frequently do the 
lovely of our sex thus make shipwreck of their hap- 
piness, not knowing how mry few are capable of 
feeling the true sentiment of love, and how priceless 
therefore is the heart of an honorable man. Alas ! 
in bitter suffering, and with tears of blood, do they 
expiate their supreme folly ! — they then, when too 
late, perceive how they have flung away the purest 
gold for mere tinsel, and now they must starve for 
the want of that bread of life which can alone sat- 
isfy the famished heart, and which that once despis- 
ed gold would have purchased. 

The plain woman is wiser. She does not trample 
on the heart that loves her ; and thus her lot is fre- 
^ quently a brighter one than that of her fairer, 
though less fortunate sister, doomed to mourn in 
silence and loneliness the neglected happiness of 
the past. 

What would th9,t weary one now give for one 
glance, in which soul answers to soul — for one word 
uttered even in reproach, by lips which, in the past, 



FLORENCE. 



81 



breathed but tenderness and love ? Alas, alas ! — it 
is too late — too late — and the haughty and once- 
petted beauty is forever alone with the spectre of 
by-gone days ! 

Like all women who have been accustomed to much 
attention from the opposite sex, Evelyn looked for 
impossibilities. The future husband her fancy 
painted, was to unite high station and wealth, and 
every advantage of mind and person, with, of 
course, a heart entirely devoted to her. "That 
love," says the Hon. Mrs. Korton, in her beau- 
tiful and romantic novel, "Stuart of Dunleith," 
" which at once satisfies the soul, the intellect, the 
heart and the senses, is met with once, and once 
only in life." I quote from memory, and conse- 
quently express the sentiments of the gifted author 
in my own words. But, is it so ? / think not. 
Perfect happiness is not to be found on earth; 
therefore, let my lady readers be content, if they 
meet one who unites three — aye, even two of these 
requisites, combined with sincere attachment — 
let her not then despise her lover, but rather wear 
him in her heart of hearts. 

Tlie grand ducal court of Florence was, at the 
time we were there, one of the pleasantest and most 
aristocratic reunions of aristocratic Europe. Any 
stranger, once presented there by his minister, was 



82 



FLORENCE. 



invited to all the balls, concerts, and receptions 
which were given weekly through the entire winter 
season. 

The Grand Duke Leopold, a most excellent old 
man, and greatly beloved by a large circle of the 
nobility, was adored by the poor, whose sick-beds 
he frequently visited in person. The Grand Duch- 
ess, his consort, a Princess of ]S"aples, though much 
younger than her husband, had ever borne a per- 
fectly unblemished reputation. Her imperial high- 
ness was a remarkably fine woman, with the most 
beautifully-formed phonlders I ever beheld. She 
was most gracious, and at the same time dignified 
in her manners, and always had a kind and affable 
word for the ladies whom she recognized as fre- 
quent attendants at her receptions. 

The youthful imperial family were worthy of 
their royal parents. The two elder Arch-Dukes, 
although mere boys, were distinguished in the ball- 
room for their graceful and amiable manners, and 
for their skill in the dance, of which they were pas- 
sionately fond, as is usual with youths of their age. 
The heir-apparent had lately brought home his 
young and beautiful bride, a Princess of Saxony. 
Alas ! who could have imagined, in a few short 
years, that lovely girl would be laid in an early 
grave I — this august family would be forever exiled 



FLORKN'CE. 



83 



from their native soil ! Even now, I see the poor 
old man j his white hairs, powerless to protect him 
from insult, bowed down with sorrow^ — jet strug- 
gling manfully with his grief, in order to console 
his weeping consort. Grand Duchess — now in name 
only. I see the faithful guardia nohile press around 
the carriages, to spare the beloved and venerated 
family the gibes and sneers of the ladies (women 
are ever the most cruel) who had so frequently par- 
taken of their sovereign's hospitality, but who 
now were congregated at the gate of the city, to 
smile at a misfortune which, however possible 
its ultimate benefits to Italy, had fallen on inno- 
cent heads. 

The government of Leopold of Tuscany was 
almost of too paternal a character. There were 
literally no police. I never heard of any spies; 
and the obnoxious Austrian soldiers had long been 
sent back to their own country. Why the Floren- 
tines preferred their country being turned into a 
province of Piedmont, and governed by a Viceroy, 
instead of remaining an independent State, I am at 
a loss to imagine ; nor can I make out wherefore 
they disliked their excellent Sovereign and his 
amiable family, i^o good has, for the present, re- 
sulted from their bloodless revolution. Let us, 
however, hope the day may dawn, which will see 



84 



FLOEENCE. 



fair Italy once more a nation, united under one 
head. Then, perhaps, Florence herself may derive 
the benefit she has not yet reaped from her change 
of rulers. 



CHAPTEE X. 



OOQTTETRT. 



All Florence was talking of the Bal Costume to 
be given at the Casino de' Nobili to H. K. H. the 
Count of Syracuse, a Neapolitan Prince, brother to 
the Grand Duchess, and at present on a visit to his 
Imperial sister at the Palazzo Pitti. The ladies were 
endeavoring each to outvie the other in the nov- 
elty and richness of their costumes. The Grand Ducal 
family were to represent their ancient predecessors on 
the throne of Florence, the rich and princely family 
of Medici. The notorious and once lovely Lady 
C F , it was known would appear as Pomo- 
na, her dress to be looped up with bunches of fruit 
interspersed with diamonds, to represent the dew. 
A beautiful Florentine duchess, it was whispered, 
would personify the " Queen of Hearts but so 
well did her modiste keep the secret that none could 
guess either the fashion or color of her robe, which 
proves that women can be trusted, at least in so im- 



86 



COQUETEY. 



portant an affair as that of the toilette. Counting 
on her fresh beauty, and conscious that she could 
not hope to ont-blaze her fair rivals in jewelry, 
Evelyn wisely preferred to be unique in the sim- 
plicity of her costume. She therefore chose the be- 
coming dress of a peasant girl of Frascati, in the 
environs of Rome. Her corset of cherry-colored 
velvet, laced over a chemisette of plaited muslin, 
displayed to advantage the rounded waist and per- 
fectly modelled shoulders. The full petticoat of blue 
silk trimmed with rows of ribbon to match the cor- 
sage, just cleared the well-turned ancle, and fully 
discovered the little Spanish foot with its arched 
instep. The hair, wrapped around the head, was 
fastened in a rich knot by two pins of diamond, and 
one large brilliant clasped the narrow band of red 
velvet which encircled her throat. The peasaJnt's 
apron, and bows of ribbon of blue and silver com- 
pleted a costume in which the wearer looked scarce- 
ly more than eighteen. I accompanied my friend 
en Marquise^ as this required but little exercise 
of the fancy, in which (as regards dress) 1 am lament- 
ably deficient. Colonel Melville (whose leave ex- 
pired very shortly), was to wear the uniform of his 
corps, and to meet us at the ball. 

Evelyn's toilette was a decided success ; a mur- 
mur of admiration accompanied us as we threaded 



OOQUETRT. 87 

our way through the brilliant crowd of officers and 
gaily attired young nobles who thronged the vesti- 
bule and ante-rooms of the building. After some 
difficulty we succeeded in reaching the upper end 
of the ball room, where on a slightly elevated dais 
were seated the Imperial family. The Grand Duch- 
ess, as the celebrated Catharine de Medicis in a 
magnificent costume of the middle ages, was liter- 
ally one blaze of jewels. On perceiving Evelyn — 
who was rather a favorite — she beckoned her to ap- 
proach, and graciously complimented her on the 
good taste and simplicity of her attire. The Count 
Syracuse, who was a great admirer of beauty, then 
stepped forward and engaged the pretty Frascatana 
for a quadrille. The Prince, who, though somewhat 
stout, was a remarkably fine looking man, appeared 
to the utmost advantage as Lorenzo de Medicis. — 
His extremely fascinating manners, together with 
his exalted rank, rendered him (if report speak 
true) almost irresistible with the female sex. But 
he was by no means a constant lover ; he might 
with truth say, with a celebrated French roue : 
" Moi je suisfidUe d tout le mondeP 

The count devoted himself to his " Cynthia of the 
minute," and scarcely left her side, much to the dis- 
gust and envy of many a noble signora, who longed 
in vain for even one glance of passing admiration 



SB 



COQUETRY. 



from the illustrious Don Giovanni, who had no eyes 
but for his simple Zerlina. Evelyn gave herself up 
to the intoxication of gratified vanity, and appeared 
to be as much charmed with her royal cavalier as 
he was taken with her. Had not the prince been a 
married man, I believe she would have aspired even 
to an alliance with royalty, for the recent choice 
of the French Emperor had contributed to turn the 
head of many a beauty. As it was, to permit such 
marked attention from a Prince, whose suc- 
cess with ladies was proverbial, could not but be 
detrimental to a virtuous woman's reputation. Thus 
reflecting, I turned to seek Melville. Poor fellow ! 
he was leaning against a fluted column the very 
statue of despair. In his expressive countenance 
you might see depicted all the tortures of jealousy 
and mortified pride. I advanced towards him and 
touched his elbow. He started as from a dream, 
made a few polite and common-place observations, 
and before I could speak a word, had vanished from 
the room. I still thought he would return, as was 
his wont, to escort us to the refreshment table, for 
Evelyn's Italian adorers were usually too intently 
occupied in discussing the excellent supper and 
wines provided by their royal host, to have time to 
attend to the wants of any fair lady. 
The Count Syracuse was forced to accompany 



COQUETRY. 



89 



the Imperial party to supper. He therefore brought 
his lovely partner all glowing with the triumphs 
and excitement of the dance to my side. Ev- 
elyn passed her arm within mine. 

" Let us seek Eeginald Melville," said she, " you 
will doubtless be glad of some refreshment." 

"Ah I dear Evelyn," I replied, " I fear your im- 
prudent coquetry has caused much suffering to- 
night." 

"He is foolish to be so jealous," replied she; 
" does he wish me to speak to no one, and to make 
myself disagreeable in society?" 

" But to remain so long with one man," I remon- 
strated. 

" Oh ! a Prince^ you know ; how could 1 refuse ? 
Indeed, Melville is most unreasonably exacting, and 
you encourage him. I should detest so jealous a 
husband. ITo ; if he cannot bear to see a woman 
admired, let him choose a plain wife." 

Her levity vexed me, for I could not imagine a 
pleasure that necessarily entailed pain upon others. 
But then, remember, I am not a heaiUy. 

We sought Melville in every room ; he was no- 
where to be found. Evelyn was evidently piqued ; 
she became distraite^ and answered at random the 
various compliments and observations addressed to 
her. She refused all invitations to dance, and had 



90 



COQUETRY. 



Melville now seen her, the destiny of two lives might 
have been changed. How often do we of the weak- 
er sex wrap ourselves in our woman's pride and 
carefully conceal our true feelings from the being 
we respect and esteem most upon earth. How fre- 
quently even in our moments of apparent cruelty 
and caprice do we in the depth of our soul resolve 
one day by the devotion of a life to make full and 
ample amends for the momentary pangs we may 
have caused ! Thrice happy they who may be per- 
mitted to put these good resolves into practice ere 
it be too late. 

We remained but a short time at the now distaste- 
ful ball. On the morrow Evelyn had a nervous 
headache and kept her room. Although she had 
given orders that no one was to be admitted, I per- 
ceived her look of disappointment when the name 
of Colonel Melville was missing from the pile of 
cards and notes brought by her maid in the evening 
to her bedside. 

The following day, being quite restored, she 
arose and dressed with more than usual care 
and good taste. I saw that she expected Melville 
would call, that being his last day in Florence, and 
I doubted not that when he came all would go well 
— and I might have to congratulate two happy 
affianced lovers. Evelyn was restless and abstract- 



COQUETRY. 



91 



ed. She tried to sing, but was out of voice ; she 
took up a book, but did not get farther than the 
title-page ; her eyes wandered perpetually towards 
the French pendule on the mantel-piece ; at last 
she rose impatiently, and stated her intention of 
driving to the Cascines, that loveliest of promen- 
ades, unsurpassed even by the far-famed " Bois de 
Boulogne." 

At that moment there was a loud ring at the 
entrance door of the apartment. My heart beat in 
sympathy with that of Evelyn, who turned pale as 
death. The servant did not at once answer the 
door — five long minutes of suspense, and the ring 
was again repeated. At length the door was open- 
ed. A manly step was heard, and H. R. H. the 
Count of Syracuse entered. 

Evelyn trembled visibly, but mastered her emo- 
tion, and received her royal visitor with graceful 
dignity. Though I perceived the Prince greatly 
desired my absence, I thought it wiser to remain 
with my friend, whose agitation I feared might be 
interpreted too favorably. 

About ten minutes after the Prince's arrival, ano- 
ther ring at the bell was heard. This time a well- 
known voice enquired — 

" Is Mrs. Travers at home 

A short colloquy with the servant followed, and 



92 



COQUETRY. 



we heard the door of the apartment closed. I look- 
ed towards Evelyn. Her vexation was so evident 
that the Prince asked if she were ill. I was obliged 
to come to the rescue — and declared, with truth, 
that she had kept her room the preceding day, and 
was scarcely suflBciently recovered to do the honors 
to His Royal Highness. 

The Count took the hint, and paid us that time 
but a short visit. The moment he had quitted, the 
servant brought in on a small waiter, Col. Mel- 
ville's card, with P. P. C. in the corner. We ques- 
tioned the man — 

" Did the Colonel say he would call again ?" 

" 'No, signora." 

" Did he state when he was leaving 
" No, signora." 

"Well then, what did he say?" I exclaimed, 
wishing to spare Evelyn the pain of asking. 

"The Colonel asked if the signora was alone. I 
told him Sna. Altezza Reale was with the signora. 
The signore then said. Give this card to the signora. 
That is all, ladies." 

It was then near five, the hour of departure 
of the train. Tlie servant was sent to inquire if 
the Colonel left that evening. He returned with 
the message^ — ColoneUoe partito gia)'' — "the Co- 
lonel is already gone." 



COQUETRY. 



93 



Evelyn's disappointment turned to anger. Her 
pride was offended, and she determined to punisli 
Melville by encouraging the visits of her Koyal ad- 
mirer — a very dangerous game ! 

" For slander's mark was ever yet the fair, 
Tlie ornament of beauty is suspect, 
A crow that flies in heaven's sweetest air." 

Her charms and success had made our heroine 
many enemies, especially among her own sex, and 
envious tongues were busy with her fair fame. She 
was termed a heartless jilt, and her conduct to- 
wards Melville was commented on in the severest 
terms. 

In Italy no woman ought to permit any marked 
attention from one of the opposite sex, if she would 
preserve an unblemished reputation. The innocent 
frankness of my countrywomen, and of the Ameri- 
can ladies, is liable to be sadly misconstrued by 
the idle and languid Italian " lions," who lounge 
away their time at the doors of the different cafes, 
and discuss the appearance and character of the la- 
dies, as chey pass in their carriages toward the 
Lungo L'Arno and Cascines. 

Evelyn, whose conduct had been, and still was, 
most indiscreet, being, moreover, without a pro-* 
tector, was especially the mark for scandal. Wo- 
men who would have given the world to have 



94: 



COQUETRY. 



been able to do as she did, were the first to blame 
her imprudence ; and the joung Florentine exquis- 
ites, who had never yet succeeded in winning a smile 
from " la hella Inglese^'^ now invented all kinds of 
cruel and false reports concerning her. The fre- 
quent visits of the Count Syracuse were reported 
to the Grand Duchess, who henceforth looked cold- 
ly upon Evelyn, and the ladies of society were only 
too happy to have it in their power to mortify one 
who had excited their jealousy. And Melville, too 
— the good, the kind, the loving — had he also de- 
serted the woman he once held so dear ? The next 
chapter may perhaps throw some light on this sub' 
ject. 



CHAPTER XI. 



FIRST LOVE. 

COLONEL REGINALD MELVILLE TO EVELYN TRAVER8. 

London, February 28tli. 

Before you receive this, Evelyn, I shall be far 
away ; it may, perhaps, cost you one pang in the 
midst of your triumphs, to know that we are at last 
parted ; it may be for years — it may \>q forever. 

My regiment is under immediate orders for India, 
and we sail in a week. We are required to quell 
the Sepoy rebellion, and to avenge the horrible bru- 
talities perpetrated by those savages on our inno- 
cent countrywomen and their helpless babes. I 
will not, at this supreme moment, reproach you — 
your naturally good heart will teach you how far 
you have erred — but I will simply mention how 
deeply I felt your inconsiderate conduct at the last 
ball, when you knew that, in two days, one who 
loved you as his own soul must leave ; and how 
still more bitterly was I disappointed at having been 



96 



FIRST LOVE. 



prevented by the prince's presence from bidding you 
a last adieu. 

You are very beautiful and talented. It is natu- 
ral you should command attentioQ wherever you 
go. But, oh ! Evelyn, does this satisfy your heart ? 
Ask yourself, are you not sometimes unhappy, even 
amid the most brilliant scenes ? Do not imagine 
that every fop who approaches you, is capable of 
sincere attachment, even to a creature as fasci- 
nating as yourself. You are, to the majority of 
men, but as the pastime of an idle hour — or worse, 
the coquette whose smiles flatter tlieir selfish vanity, 
and of whose favors they boast at the public prom- 
enades or the cafes. But of this I cannot bear to 
speak — even the thought is madness. 

It is true, alas ! that I dare not hope that one so 
gifted and so adored, will await the uncertainties 
of war, and mourn, in some retired corner of the 
earth, the absence of a future husband. !N"o, Eve- 
lyn — I deeply feel the vanity of entertaining such a 
hope, even for a moment. I know, too well, you 
will meet those who will hang on each word, and 
watch every look, as I have done. You will never 
forget me ; but I shall share your heart with others. 
It is for this, therefore, that I am resolved, cost what 
it will, and at the risk of breaking my heart, 
to utter this fatal word — Farewell, then, beloved of 



FIRST LOVE. 



97 



my soul — my first, my only love — you are free. 
Think of me, henceforth, as a tender brother. I 
will ever cherish you as a sister. For your own 
sake, and that of your dear Ella, be prudent; 
remember that a woman's name should never even 
be breathed upon. 

One more effort — one more bitter pang, and my 
self-imposed duty is done. If ever my sweet sister 
should find one who loves her as I do — but who, 
unlike poor Melville, approaches near to the stand- 
ard of perfection she has erected in her own imagi- 
nation — then, dearest, do not hesitate to become his 
wife. My prayers shall ever be offered up for your 
happiness ; and you, my ever-beloved Evelyn, will 
not, even in the midst of that bliss, refuse — if I 
fall — to drop a tear for one who would die to save 
you even one moment's uneasiness. Farewell — 
farewell ! e. m. 

EVELYN TEA VERS TO EEGINALD MELVILLE. 

Castellamare, Villa des Alberi, 5th May. 

I have been seriously ill, dear Reginald, or you 
would have heard from me ere this. I left Florence 
a week after I received your letter ; and the 
fatigues of the journey, added to the violent shock 
consequent on the receipt of such sad news, quite 



98 



FIRST LOVE. 



overcame me. I was taken with a nervous trem- 
bling, which ended in fever. For two months 
I have been confined to my room, and strictly for- 
bidden to write, read, or even to think. I have, 
however, succeeded in persuading my doctor, that 
to remain alone with my regrets for the past is 
retarding indefinitely my recovery. He has, there- 
fore, permitted me to write these few lines to 
you. 

And are we, then, really to be Y^rtedi forever f 
Oh ! my once kind Reginald, why condemn me to 
live without your love ! I see at last the folly and 
madness of sacrificing a true attachment for the 
heartless and aimless admiration of the passing 
hour. Oh ! how lonely do I feel now in the world — 
how its hollo wness wearies me ! Sweet Ella even 
seems to reproach my frivolity with her calm angel 
eyes ; nor can I endure Mary's face of grave and sad 
reproof. 

Reginald, if you ever loved me, write and say 
that I am forgiven — tell me that I have not ruined 
your happiness. Do not speak of my poor attrac- 
tions. Would that I were plain, since my beauty 
has caused our separation. 

You say you are not my heau ideal. '"^ If it be 
true, that my foolish romantic fancy has portrayed 
an impossible hero — at least, your rare devotion to 



FIRST LOVE. 



99 



one worthless as myself is the veiy " heau ideal " 
of all that mortals term love. For this, accept my 
undying gratitude. 

One last request — for your Eveljm's sake, be pru- 
dent. Do not expose yourself to danger unnecessa- 
rily ; and she will nightly kneel before the throne 
of grace, and pray that her numerous faults and 
follies may rather be visited on her own head, and 
that every blessing, temporal and eternal, may fall 
to the lot of him who, though absent, is forever pre- 
sent with his repentant 

Evelyn. 

P. S. — Eemember, I shall count the days, the 
hours, the moments, until I hear from you. Do not 
keep me in suspense. Mary desires kindest regards, 
and little Ella her best love. 

After the preceding letter was dispatched to Col- 
onel Melville's agents for transmission to India, I 
endeavored as much as possible to divert Evelyn's 
mind from dwelling on painful subjects. The 
state of her health was far from satisfactory. I 
therefore used all my influence to persuade her to 
enter a little into society, as we calculated no 
reply could possibly come under three months from 
the seat of war, and till that time had elapsed anx-^ 
iety would be but needless self-torment. "We 



100 



FIRST LOVE. 



were acquainted with an English family, whose 
pretty schooner — the " Turquoise " — was lying in 
the bay of Sorento. Captain and Mrs. Blake had 
frequently invited us to make excursions with them 
to the various objects of interest which abound on 
the classic shores of the ancient Parthenope. We 
had hitherto refused — myself because I detested the 
sea ; Evelyn, because she was utterly out of spirits. 
One evening, however, our kind friends came and 
would take no denial. They were accompanied by 
a young Sicilian nobleman, a great friend of Ella's, 
for he never called without a box of bonbons, a bas- 
ket of fruit, or a bouquet for the young lad}^, whom 
he had named Sorcietto^ or " little Mousey. The 
Due di Balzano w^as a fine-looking man of from 
twenty- eight to thirty years of age. Dark as the very 
darkest of his race, he possessed an open coun- 
tenance, and an expression beaming with goodness. 
Unlike the generality of his rather effeminate coun- 
trymen, Balzano was cast in the mould of a Her- 
cules, and even in England, (that land of splendidly 
formed men), he would have been remarked for the 
perfection of his figure and the grace of his move- 
ments. I remember later seeing him execute the 
Tarentella, or national dance of Naples, in a man- 
ner that might have shamed many a Terpsichorean 
star of the opera. 



FIRST LOVE. 



101 



Yielding to Ella's entreaties, Evelyn consented to 
make one of the party, and arranged on the follow- 
ing morning to drive to Sorento and there embark 
in our friend's yacht. I was excused, as all were 
aware that a marine excursion was anything but 
a pleasure to me. It was proposed first to visit the 
purple cave of Capri, which can only be entered in 
calm weather and at low tide. Even then the vis- 
itor must almost recline in the boat, so low is the 
entrance to the cave. When this difficulty is passed 
/you are amply repaid by the sight of a lofty dome 
of rock, spanning a body of water actually of the 
color of indigo. Great care is necessary in making 
the visit that no storm is in prospect, for when the 
waves are high, the imprudent traveler has been 
unable to return, sometimes for days, in consequence 
of the exit to the cave having been entirely sub- 
merged by the raging element which surrounds it. 

Our party entered under favorable auspices, for 
the sea was calm, though there was at the same 
time a ground swell, which had made poor Ella very 
sea-sick, and obliged her to be left on a sofa in the 
yacht. Ella's indisposition gave rise to a rather 
amusing adventure which I shall now relate : 

On her return on board, Evelyn found the child 
very ill, so much so as to alarm her mother who 



102 FIRST LOVE. 

went to Captain Blake and begged him to put them 
instantly ashore. 

" My dear lady," replied he, ^' it is all very well 
for you to talk, but I know no landing place with- 
in some hours' sail." 

"Then," besought Evelyn, "let us put back to 
Sorento." 

" Impossible," exclaimed the captain, " the little 
wind there is, is contrary. It would take us twelve 
hours to get there." 

Just then di Balzano made his appearance, and 
the poor mother, in despair, began in Italian to ex- 
plain the circumstances to him. The duke in the 
kindest manner reassured Captain Blake as to the 
nature of the coast, and informed Evelyn that al- 
though he knew of no good landing place near, he 
would gladly escort her and little Ella in safety 
home to Castellamare. " But," he added, looking 
at Evelyn, "the signorina must have a little pa- 
tience, for we cannot make even the nearest land- 
ing place till nightfall." 

Gratefully thanking him, Evelyn returned to her 
daughter, who soon became pacified under the hope 
of once more being on terra firma. 

At eight o'clock, true to his promise, the Captain 
stopped the schooner, a boat was lowered, and the 
party entered. Balzano held the sick child in his 



FIRST LOVE. 



103 



arms like a tender nurse. The landing was indeed 
far rougher than even he had expected — it was a 
regular mountain scramble in the dark. Arrived 
at the summit, Ella and her mother were glad to 
repose on the floor of the miserable hut appropriat- 
ed to the coast guard. On inquiry, they learned 
they were eight miles from Sorento, the road thith- 
er lying over a mountain ridge, which must be 
passed on donkeys. !None of these animals, they 
were told, were to be had under a two hours' ride 
from thence. Balzano at once started in search of 
asses, pressing a boy into ih'e service. For nearly 
three hours did the poor tired travellers wait in the 
smoky atmosphere of the guard-house, the return 
of their kind escort. At last the welcome patter of 
donkeys' feet was heard, and three sorry beasts 
made their appearance. No time was lost in mount- 
ing. Balzano, who was dressed in summer costume, 
wrapped his plaid around Evelyn, who had placed 
her own shawl about the little girl. 

The cold on the mountains was excessive, the 
path difficult, and there was no moon. At about 
two A. M. the party arrived at Sorento ; but though " 
they knocked loudly at the doors of the principal 
hotels, no one would rise to admit them. A testy 
Englishman only, in a red night-cap, looked out 
from a third floor window, and abused them in very 



104 



FIRST LOVE. 



bad Italian for disturbing his slumbers. Evelyn 
getting angry herself, replied in the same lan- 
guage, which her excitement rendered less melo 
diously correct than usual. The colloquy greatly 
amused her cavalier, who laughed heartily at the 
expense of the dui Inglese disputing in bad Italian. 

To make a long story short, our friends dismoun- 
ted, and passed the night in an empty carriage, for 
the poor donkeys could not, or would not go a step 
further — and soon after sunrise they persuaded its 
owner to put horses to the vehicle, thus arriving 
at our Yilla, to my infinite surprise, at about six in 
the morning. 

The suite of this otherwise laughable adventure 
had well nigh proved fatal to poor Balzano. His 
kindness and politeness in giving up his plaid when 
so thinly clothed, caused a severe chill, which end- 
ed in a most dangerous attack of fever, in which 
he nearly lost his life. A strong constitution, and 
a calm, well-regulated mind, to our infinite re- 
lief, enabled our excellent friend eventually and per- 
fectly to recover his health. 



CHAPTEE Xn. 



DEATH. 

"We had calculated to a nicety the possible time 
in which we could receive a letter from Keginald 
Melville, taking into consideration the accidents of 
wind and water at sea, and the delays and uncer- 
tainties on land ; but, at length, the time had 
arrived when each day was a continued torture. 
Ah ! which of us do not remember, at some time of 
our lives, the dreadful alternations of sickly hope 
and bitter disappointment we have experienced in 
waiting for that letter so long delayed ? Each 
morning, as we arose, we have said to ourselves — 
" To-day it will surely come." How we watch tlie 
clock ! "We are quite relieved to hear it is ten min- 
utes too fast: the ten minutes pass — another five 
also, and we send down to know if the postman is 
late to-day. We are somewhat consoled to hear 
that he is occasionally even later. How our heart 
beats as we see him turn the corner : how dread- 



106 



DEATH. 



fully slow he walks. He stops to speak to some 
one. Oh ! will he never cease talking ? We feel 
tempted to flj down and relieve our insupportable 
anxiety ; but a horrible fear we will not confess to 
ourselves freezes us into stone. No, better wait — it 
can be but a few moments. The postman goes to 
the house near by. Happy inmates ! One, two — 
yes, three letters for them. At length he ap- 
proaches — will he pass by ? Ko, he stops. Two 
letters. "We feel that we shall faint, if they are not 
brought up at once ; yet we dare not go to meet 
them. Five minutes, which seem an eternity, and 
the servant enters with the letters. How sick we 
turn — IT is not there ! And this tonnent we must 
undergo daily, till a kind Providence guides that 
long-desired letter to our hands — too often, when 
it comes, the bearer of ill-tidings, of change, of sick- 
ness, of death. Poor mortals 1 Cruel, indeed, were 
our destiny, did not the glimpse of a happier mor- 
row brighten for us the deep shadows which en- 
velope the tomb ! 

Ella, though a mere child in years, shared the 
anxiety of her mother with almost womanly tender- 
ness. My little god-daughter was a most interest- 
ing girl. She was now about eleven years of age, 
and bore the promise of remarkable loveliness. Like 
her mother in regularity of feature, she was still of 



DEATH. 



107 



quite a different style of beauty. Her complexion 
was of that transparent fairness which an artist in or- 
der to copy would tinge with a blue shade. Her hair, 
of the color called in France hloiid cendre^ fell in 
rich wavy masses to her waist. To a casual observ- 
er Ella might appear calm — almost cold ; but we 
knew her to possess intense feeling beyond her years. 

The child had been suffering from slight fever, 
and was but just convalescent. We had removed 
to ITaples, to procure better medical advice. It 
was now the month of November; yet the air was 
balmy as in the first days of Spring. Ella reclined on 
a couch near the window ; her mother, seated near, 
passed her hand fondly over the splendid hair which 
quite inundated the pillow and swept the ground. In 
a few moments the young girl was in a deep sleep. 
Evelyn still continued to caress her. Turning 
to me, after a pause, she said : " If I could only 
know whether Keginald is alive or dead, I think I 
should be less wretched." 

As her mother spoke, I beheld Ella raise herself 
to a sitting posture. Her eyes were dilated, as if 
she saw something in the distance. Evelyn, alarm- 
ed, would have awaked her; but I motioned her to 
silence. 

The child slowly raised her arm, and pointed 
with her delicate finger to something she appeared 



108 



DEATH. 



to see ; then, in a clear, ringing voice, like and yet 
unlike her own : " I see a large army move across 
a plain, like an ocean of verdure. Oh ! it is so 
wide — so wide — the groves of trees are like islands, 
here and there ; and oh, mama, how beautiful ! See 
the palaces, the domes — all gold and azure. See the 
white columns and terraces. What a lovely place !" 
She paused a moment ; and then, suddenly, almost 
screamed, catching her mother's arm : " Oh ! look — 
look at that brave officer, on a grey horse — see his 
white plumes dance. He draws his sword ; he fears 
nothing. Oh ! it is — it is Reginald. Reginald, do 
not go there — there is blood — blood ! Mama, take 
me away ! They fight — they are wicked. I will 
not see this horrible blood !" 

Ella covered her eyes, and fell back on the sofa. 
Her limbs were convulsed, her chest heaved for a 
few moments, and then happily she sank into a 
deep and peaceful sleep, in which she remained for 
some hours. When she awoke, she appeared more 
cheerful than usual, and seemed to have utterly for- 
gotten her dream — if dream it could be called. 

The occurrence was so remarkable, that I wrote 
it down in my journal, with the date ; and later, 
when I had become familiar with the phenomena of 
clairvovance, and the mesmeric trance, I considered 



DEATH. 



109 



this as one of the most remarkable instances of the 
kind on record. 

Another month, and we had almost ceased to 
hope for the letter. When it came, it was thus : 

Before Lucknow, November , '57. 

Your letter, my beloved Evelyn, I have only just 
received : through some mistake, it has been lying 
at my agent's, in Calcutta ; and I have only now 
been able to press it to my heart and lips. Thanks, 
a thousand thanks, for the sweet hope that letter 
contains. If God spare this poor life, it shall be de- 
voted to render my Evelyn forever happy. Do not 
speak of forgiveness ; it is I that ought to ask par- 
don, for having mistrusted the woman I respect and 
revere most upon earth. Can she forget a foolish 
jealousy, occasioned by her beauty and fascination ? 
I am making a writing-table out of the stump of 
a tree. To-morrow, we expect to storm Lucknow. 
Our chief, Sir Colin, has kindly placed me on his 
staff. 

The thought of you, sweetest, will stimulate me 
to dare everything. I fervently trust in God that 
my life may be spared, now that it is of value to 
you; but if, in the divine decrees of an all- wise 
Providence, I am fated to fall — then, Evelyn, my 



110 



DEATH. 



wife, before Heaven — farewell ! Do not mourn for 
one who will have died the death of a hero. Shed 
a few gentle, pitying tears, and then he happy^ and 
forget me. No — do not forget. Eemember me 
as one to whom you were dearer than all but his 
honor — one who will ever watch and guard you, 
even from that world beyond the tomb, to which 
we are all hastening. One curl of your soft brown 
hair and your miniature have never left my heart. 
If these are returned, you will know that a spirit 
has passed away, whose last thought in dying was 
of you. Again, and again — Farewell? God for- 
ever bless you, my own — my bride ! 

Your loving 

Keginald. 

Short happiness did this letter bring to our hearts. 
It also had been long delayed on the road. Three 
days after its receipt Evelyn entered my room ere 
it was day, pale — her hair dishevelled, her eyes red 
and swelled with weeping. 

" Reginald is dead," said she, " I have seen him. 
I^ay, speak not," she added, seeing I would have 
chided her folly, " I have murdered him. Had I con- 
sented to a marriage he would have left the army, 
and would never have been sent to India. As I lay 
awake last night, I tell you I saw him as plain as I 



DEATH. 



Ill 



do you. He approached the bed, looked lovingly 
upon me, and I saw a wound in his breast. Sud- 
denly the form melted into air. I had no fear. I 
wished he would again appear. I should have 
spoken to him. But nothing more occurred." 

Evelyn returned to her bed, not to leave it for 
some time. 

The first day she arose from it, weak, but calm 
and collected, she said to me, " JSTow, Mary, you 
may give me the lock of hair and the miniature, and 
read me the account of my young, hero's death. I 
can bear all — the worst is past.'' 

Seeing that I still wept, and hesitated to do her 
bidding, she arose, gently took the keys from my 
hands, and unlocked the bureau, where unknown to 
her I had secreted these touching memorials of a 
happiness now past forever. "With a calmness more 
piteous to behold than any violent grief, she opened 
all and read all. Then gently clasping her hands, 
she sank upon her knees, saying, " I was not worthy 
of him. Thy will be done, oh God ! Thy will be 
done." 



CHAPTER Xni. 

NAPLES AND THE NEAPOLITANS. 

Much has been said and written by poets and 
philosophers on the evanescent nature of all earthly 
joys, and the precarious tenure on which we hold 
our happiness here below ; but while this is indu- 
bitally true, let us be thankful that in the divine 
decrees of a wise Providence, sorrow is of a nature 
equally transient. The human heart shrinks from 
suffering and yearns to be blessed. Such is the un- 
erring law of our being, and He who " tempers the 
wind to the shorn lamb," mercifully permits Time, 
that great pliysician, to pour balm into our deepest 
wounds, though ever and anon a word, a flower, a 
perfume, a breath, will cause them to bleed afresh, 
and throb with exquisite agony. 

The night shadow which since the death of Reginald 
Melville had enveloped our little party, had gradu- 
ally given place to the aurora of renewed hope. — 



NAPLES AND THE NEAPOLITANS. 113 



, Evelyn by degrees regained her health and cheer- 
ful spirits, though she ceased not to reproach her- 
self as the involuntary cause of Reginald's death. 
Ella had become very thoughtful, and appeared to 
us at times to wander in her mind. She frequently 
said, " Mama, I saw him last night ; he bid me pray 
for him," 

Or she would chide us for being sad, " He is hap- 
py, dearest mama — he told me so." 

Once she said with much solemnity, raising her 
hand as if to impress her words upon our hearts : 

" Mother, Reginald bids me tell you he loves you 
and still watches over you, and you will meet 
again." 

The child frequently spoke of this suddenly, with- 
out premeditation, looking up from her book, or her 
work, or even while nursing her doll. "We thought 
this death had made too deep an impression on her 
youthful mind, and endeavored as much as possible 
to divert her thoughts from so melancholy a subject, 
but we only partially succeeded. She would refer 
to it again and again, not in sadness, but as if she 
realized a presence unperceived by others, and was 
a medium of comn^unication between the land of 
spirits and the world of sense. 

We lived in strict seclusion, our sole distraction 
being to visit occasionally, in company with a few 



114 



NAPLES AND THE NEAPOLITANS. 



friends, the storied and romantic environs of Naples. 
The gulf of Salerno, the village of Amalfi, with 
its panorama of mountains, the ruins of Faestum, 
where the balmy and fragrant breeze is laden with 
the baleful breath of fever ; and, lastly, Pompeii, 
with her numerous villas, where of old the enervated 
patricians of ancient Rome enjoyed the doloe far 
niente of a voluptuous climate, heedless of the fiery 
destruction which, at any moment, might over- 
whelm their fair town, and hurry those unthinking 
votaries of pleasure into eternity. Bulwer's " Last 
Days of Pompeii " contains a description so graphic, 
and so true of this ill-fated city, that we cannot do 
better than refer our readers to that classic work. 
We may, however, be permitted to add, that never 
before or since has so beautiful a site been chosen 
for town or village as was that summer resort of the 
Romans. The vistas which opened upon us through 
each fluted column, and beneath each sculptured 
archway — of the blue Mediterranean — of Yesuvius 
and his attendant mountains, their vine-clad val- 
leys all colored by the heavenly hues of South- 
ern Italy — Oh ! this was a sight which will forever 
remain impressed on my senses and on my heart. 

The Due di Balzano — of whom mention has pre- 
viously been made — was frequently our escort in 
these delightful excursions. During Evelyn's illness 



NAPLES AND THE NEAPOLITANS. 115 

and time of trial, he had been untiring in those 
attentions which spring from the natural goodness 
of the heart. We now considered him quite as a 
friend ; and never has it been mj lot to meet 
a more unselfish character. He was a man of much 
influence in his native land, and this he always 
exerted for the good of others. Nearly connected 
by the marriage of a cousin, with the king, his sym- 
pathies were royalist and anti-revolutionary ; yet he 
was kindness itself to the poor and oppressed of his 
nation, and had frequently run the risk of compro- 
mising himself politically, in order to save those 
who had implored his protection, which no one ever 
solicited m vain. 

About this time, a circumstance occurred which 
greatly increased our esteem for one whose nature 
was even more noble than his birth, though that 
were of the highest in the land. The Due di Bal- 
zano lounged away much of his time at the fashion- 
able cafes^ which, like our clubs, are with the young 
Italians a much-frequented place of rendezvous. 
As he was standing in the doorway, Evelyn passed 
in her carriage through the Toledo. 

I have stated, in a former page, that our heroine 
had not altogether escaped the tongue of calumny — 
that pale daughter of Envy, engendered by coward- 
ice, and nurtured by hatred and deceit. Evil report 



116 NAPLES AND THE NEAPOLITANS. 



had even pursued her in her soHtude ; and now, as 
she passed, and gracefully acknowledged the re- 
spectful salutation of di Balzano, a knot of young 
exquisites, who only knew her by sight, commenced 
a conversation, of which the English signora was 
the subject : 

" E una hella donna^'' said the Prince Cassero, 
" but they say she is the cast off mistress of the 
Count Syracuse." 

"Ah, yes," said another, " and her lover killed 
himself in despair." 

"She is evidently," said a third, "a donna leg- 
gier a. 

"Well," lisped a youth of about seventeen, " she 
is a fine creature, and sympathetic. I think I shall 
make her acquaintance." 

De Balzano could bear no more ; he sprang into 
the midst of this dastardly coterie like a tiger. He 
was superb in his disdainful anger. 

"Gentlemen," he said, "you are all cowards. 
That English lady is my friend, and you shall all 
answer to me for what you have said, or make a 
most humble apology in writing, confessing that 
your statements are false. I expect to hear from 
you at the Palazzo Balzano." 

Thus saying, he left the cafe and returned home. 
He was a crack shot, fenced beautifully, and was 



NAPLES AND THE NEAPOLITANS. 117 

an adept at the sword exercise. It is, after this, use- 
less to say that a full and ample apology was made 
in writing by all the offenders, and from that mo- 
ment not a whisper was ever breathed against the 
fair fame of the English signora. 

Too delicate to inform us of this circumstance 
himself, we heard of it by chance some days after- 
wards, through one who had been a spectator of the 
scene. Our grateful acknowledgments to our kind 
protector may be easily imagined ; and from that time 
di Balzano became a constant visitor at our home. 

We presented our credentials to our kind and 
respected minister. Sir W. Temple, who received 
us with true English hospitality. Once more we 
entered the glittering halls of pleasure — once 
more my heroine became apparently the gayest 
of the gay; but she had learned a lesson. No 
longer a coquette, she sought the society of la- 
dies, rather than that of the opposite sex. Di 
Balzano had no reason for jealousy ; poor fellow — 
I saw that his heart was irretrievably hers. He 
paid her the most respectful attention, and she ap- 
peared to feel for him sincere friendship and esteem 
— nothing more. 

Yet such a marriage might have satisfied even 
one as fastidious as was Evelyn. Balzano was 
handsome, noble, good, independent in fortune, 



118 NAPLES AND THE NEAPOLITANS. 

and deeply in love ; he was manly, (a rare quality 
in an Italian,) honorable, brave, and unselfish al- 
most to a fault. 

But our heroine chose to imagine him uneduca- 
ted, and not sufficiently spiritutl. She observed 
that after dinner he felt inclined to take a siesta. — 
Her old failing of despising a devoted heart, came 
back in full force. Was she not beautiful? — had 
she not been adored by Melville and others ? She 
might look higher — if not as to birth, at least as re- 
gards intellect. She was not content with plain 
common sense in a nusband, united with the artistic 
taste innate in most of the children of beautiful 
Italy. She did not at that time appreciate the in- 
estimable bliss of tranquil domestic life. She would 
shine, she would be somebody in the world — the 
wife of a Cabinet Minister, of a great general, an 
orator, a poet. She desired to queen it, in society ; 
she was in truth a worldling at heart, a very slave 
to the pomps and vanities of life — not perhaps for 
their own intrinsic merit, but as a means of gratify- 
ing those ambitious desires, which as a vulture de- 
voured every good feeling of her nature. But God, 
as a tender Father, who chastises but to bless, was 
leading her in His own way, and preparing for her 
unwilling feet, a path so steep and thorny, that 
could the future have been at that time disclosed 



NAPLES AND THE NEAPOLITANS. 119 



to her, slie would have shrunk back appalled from 
its dreariness, and have clung with the tenacious 
grasp of despair to this her last hope of happiness 
on earth. 



CHAPTER XIY. 



I PBOMESSI SPOSI. 

" And so, hella mza, I may at last be permitted 
to congratulate you on your engagement to the Due 
di Balzano. If I understand ariglit, he will very 
shortly place a coronet on the fair brow he so much 
admires — is it not so ?" 

"Not exactly, Mary," said Evelyn, looking up 
from a sketch she was making. " You know, dear, 
that Balzano has himself placed a serious impedi- 
ment in the way of our marriage. He insists on my 
becoming a Catholic." 

" I am perfectly aware of that, Evelyn," I an- 
swered, " but I thought you were well disposed to- 
ward the faith of Rome, and that your present so- 
journ in this city was with a view to studying the 
dogmas of the Catholic Church." 

" Precisely so, Mary — and for that reason also, 
Balzano has presented to us the chaplain of His 



I PROMESSI SPOSI. 



121 



Holiness, Monsignore Dormer, for whose spiritual 
counsel I am sincerely thankful. Yet I cannot 
force my conscience, nor be converted against my 
convictions." 

" Pardon me," I rejoined, " but have you not 
done wrong in raising hopes which may never be 
realized ?" 

" Keally," replied she, " if the gentleman himself 
makes these conditions, I do not see how any blame 
can possibly attach to me." 

"You are aware, Evelyn, that the conditions you 
speak of are rather those of tlie laws of his country, 
than his own. As a Protestant, your marriage with 
a Catholic would in Naples be considered illegal, 
and your children illegitimate. A dispensation 
from the Pope would, on the other hand, be to.o 
costly. You have therefore no alternative — either 
you must give up the marriage, or change jour 
religion." 

" Oh, you sensible creature !" exclaimed Evelyn, 
with some petulance. " Miss Edgeworth must have 
had you as her model when she portrayed her pru- 
dent and proper heroines. Why, my dear soul, 
Catholics never marry in Lent — so I have two 
months, before me — ^Sufficient for the day is the 
evil thereof.' " 



e 



122 



I PROMESSI SPOSI. 



"Ah ! Evelyn, Evelyn, incorrigible at thirty as at 
thirteen, when will you come to years of discretion !" 

The entrance of di Balzano put an end to our 
conversation, which took place one evening in our 
apartment in the Piazza di Spagna, in Rome, where 
we had ostensibly come with the view of assisting 
at the ceremonies of the Holy Week. The duke 
came to propose for that evening a party to view 
the Coliseum by moonlight. Ever love-loyal to his 
lady's b'ghtest wish, her lover's one thought was to 
give her pleasure ; and as his friends and acquaint- 
ances were all highly placed, we had facilities for 
sight-seeing rarely granted to strangers. 

Our mornings were usually employed in lionizing 
the various galleries and churches of the Eternal 
City. ^ To one small chamber in the Vatican we re- 
turned again and again. Need I say, it was to pass 
hours before the most perfect statue ever fashioned 
by mortal chisel — the glorious, the divine Apollo ! 
Oh ! I can well imagine how a young maiden pined 
away and died for love of that majestic form — those 
delicate features, so beautiful in their proud con- 
sciousness of power. I can well believe liow her 
tender bosom thrilled with a hope that was almost 
an agony, as she in fancy beheld the magnetic flame 
of life animate the marble and reveal the present 
god. Ah, me ! poor child — and is she the only one 



I PROME88T 8P08I. 



123 



of her sex who has lived, and loved — aye, and died 
for a shadow — a phantasy ? Are we not all doomed 
to make idols, and, sooner or later, to " find them 
clay ?" 

Evelyn and myself agreed that, on leaving these 
galleries, as it were, " drunk with beauty," every 
one we met appeared to us plain and homely. 
Rome is rather unfavorable to the development of 
the tender passion. 'Nov did it surprise me that here 
Numa Pompilius preferred a visionary nymph to a 
daughter of earth. 

Our time passed pleasantly enough ; yet Evelyn 
appeared to suffer from low spirits, and occasionally 
I surprised her shedding tears. As the chaplain of 
the Pope came constantly to give her religious in- 
struction, I imagined her mind was influenced by 
his pious conversation, and deeply desired it might 
be so, for her future good and that of her daughter. 
I do not now allude so much to her becoming what 
it is the fashion in England to call a Pervert," but 
to her being seriously and practically convinced, 
that trust in God, combined with a desire to please 
Him and to obey His commandments, is the only 
foundation for true happiness, either here or here- 
after. Evelyn being a highly imaginative person, 
passionately fond of music — in short, an idealist — I 
considered the Catholic form of worship would be 



124 



I PR0ME8SI SP08I. 



highly attractive to her, and trusted any impression 
she might now receive would prove lasting. 

Nevertheless, I sometimes feared that even the 
devotion of di Balzano had not met with the return 
it merited. It appeared to me as if my friend were 
more influenced by the rank and position of her 
•fiance tjian by her heart, in the choice she had 
made. Her own standing in society she had some- 
what damaged by past imprudence, and so unex- 
ceptionable a marriage was too wise a step to admit 
of hesitation in a mere worldly point of view. But 
the evidently deep attachment of Balzano deserved 
a more worthy return. He was not, it is true, 
romantic or sentimental ; but his heart was noble 
and affectionate, and he had placed it wholly in the 
keeping of her he hoped ere long to call his bride. 
He had no brilliant talent, certes ; but he possessed 
sound common sense and great tact. Young, hand- 
some, aristocratic, a "lion," and unmistakably in 
love. What could any reasonable woman require 
more? So thought I, at least; and as I watched 
the couple, to outward appearance so well matched, 
I augured for Evelyn a future almost devoid of the 
clouds which so frequently darken the matrimonial 
horizon. 

Many of the noble ladies of Rome, friends of the 
duke, took great interest in the probable conversion 



I PR0MES8I SPOSI. 



125 



of his English betrothed ; and books and pamphlets 
were sent her in abundance bj these fair zealots 
and kindly well-wishers to what they considered 
a most holy cause 

We had, at length, reached that period of the 
year when the Church of Rome celebrates, with 
every adjunct of pomp and circumstance, the great 
mysteries of our redemption. Tiie ladies admitted 
to view the ceremonies within the railings of the 
Church of St. Peter must be costumed in black, and 
wear a black lace mantilla, or veil on their heads, 
m lieu of a bonnet. The Holy Week commences 
by the blessing of the Palms, which are afterwards 
distributed among the people. Each succeeding 
day has its appropriate services : and on Holy 
Thursday, two very grand ceremonies take place — 
that of washing the feet of twelve old men by His 
Holinness, in imitation of Jesus washing his apos- 
tles' feet ; and next^ the great function of the 
"Cena," or Supper, when these same twelve are 
served at table by Bishops and Cardinals. 

On Easter Sunday, after a magnificent service in 
the Cathedral, the Pope is carried in a chair to a 
balcony situated near the roof of the building, and 
from this fearful elevation he blesses the kneeliiig 
multitude congregated in the immense piazza of St. 
Peters. Pio Nono has a remarkably fine sonorous 



126 



I PROMESSI SPOSI. 



voice ; and, as he spoke the Latin address from that 
dizzy height, not one syllable was lost. 

It was a most imposing and touching sight, that 
crowd of all nations and all creeds, without distinc- 
tion of age or sex, all bending in humility to re- 
ceive the apostolic benediction. Many around had 
tears in their eyes ; nor were my own hereti- 
cal orbs altogether free from such weakness. A 
moment, and the clank of arms, the roll of the 
drums, and the boom of artillery announce the close 
of the ceremony. We pick ourselves up, stealthily 
wipe our eyes, enter the carriage, drive to our hotel; 
and proceed to — luncheon. 

" Sic transit gloria mundi." 



! 



CHAPTER XY. 

THE aKOTTO OF EGEKIA. 

Immediately subsequent to the conclusion of the 
ceremonies of the Easter week, Eome is suddenly 
deserted by the crowd of strangers who have 
thronged her churches, and elbowed each other in 
her galleries and palaces. They fly to Kaples, Flo- 
rence, Paris, London, as may be. And yet the en-* 
virons of the Eternal City are well worth a more 
than casual visit. 

It was now the month of May, and the glowing sun 
of Italy had already clothed the trees with their spring 
foliage, and scattered flowers into the lap of Earth. 
An excursion to the beautiful and romantic grotto 
of Egeria was planned — and our little party, ac- 
companied by di Balzano, started in the early 
morning on our expedition. What an ai»parently 
happy society ! — two lovers, on the eve of a mar- 
riage of inclination, a beloved child,, a sincere 
fi'iend, all united for the express purpose of enjoy- 



128 



THE GROTTO OF EQERIA. 



ment. Above us, tlie purple canopy of an Italian 
heaven — around, tlie varied beauties of scenery 
whilst the tepid and perfumed breeze of the South 
fanned our cheeks, and breathed new life into our 
frames. Surely no element of enjoyment was want- 
ing ; and yet, strange to relate, of all that party El- 
la alone appeared free fi-ora care. Evelyn's attic 
brow was clouded, and her eyelids " drooped with 
unshed tears." The usually cheerful and light- 
hearted Balzano was serious and silent — myself 
nervous and restless — for I had a task before me, 
which, however unpleasant, I had resolved on per- 
forming : it was a duty, and I would not shrink 
from it. Thus Avas our drive any thing but social. 

On arriving at the spot where travellers quit their 
carriages to walk to the grotto, we alighted — and 
after patiently undergoing the usual amount of vic- 
timization from those harpies the guides, who re- 
morselessly rob you of your illusions while they 
empty your pockets, we succeeded in debarrassing 
ourselves of their services on the promise of a sec- 
ond hottiglia^ on our return to the carriage. "We 
were thus enabled to wander unmolested through 
the cool and secluded paths in the vicinity of the 
fountain and grotto of the nyinph. Ella at once 

* The Italian term for drink-money. 



THE GROTTO OF EGERIA. 



129 



seized upon her friend Balzano, and insisted that he 
should take her on an exploring expedition ! Eve- 
lyn and myself, soon weary with our wanderings, 
seated ourselves near the moss-clad basin, from 
which for ever flows the crystal spring, sacred to 
the mysterious loves of the immortal maiden and 
her Roman lover. 

I have often wondered," she observed, " whe- 
ther this legend of ancient Rome is founded on 
truth, or whether Egeria was but the symbol of the 
inspired teachings received by I^uma in his solitary 
communings with nature." 

" I have always considered this as a myth," I re- 
plied. " All the fables of ancient Greece and 
Rome had some hidden meaning other than a mere- 
ly sensuous one — and this was probably as you have 
stated, an allegory." 

" And yet," said Evelyn, " it suits my fancy — at 
least while here — to believe, that all-potent love 
drew tlie heaven born maiden from her solitudes, 
and that as she pillowed her fair head upon the 
manly bosom of her human lover, her throbbing 
heart timidly confessed that even Paradise had for 
her no higher joy. I believe with Byron, that love 
is * no habitant of earth.' " 

" Ah ! Evelyn," I exclaimed, " you at least have 
no right to say so — for never was mortal woman 

6* 



130 



THE GBOTTO OF EGERIA. 



more truly, more devotedly loved, than you have 
been, and still are." 

Why not add," said she, smiling sadly, " that 
never lias mortal woman made a more ungrateful 
return ? Granted, dear Mentor — and what then ?" 

" "What then ? What a question ! — when you are 
on the eve of marriage with one who possesses al- 
most every quality you can desire. I say almost, for 
perfection is not to be found here below." 

Evelyn was silent for a few moments ; then ris- 
ing, she said, as one inspired, her cheek glowing 
her eyes flashing, while her voice trembled with 
an emotion to which she rarely gave way — 

" Hear me, Mary. Do not think me insensible. 
The passion so frequently misnamed love on earth 
is but its counterfeit. Love, as I understand it, is a 
spiritual passion — a union of souls — that magnetic 
or electric affinity which is as irresistible as it is in- 
dissoluble ; for it makes of two imperfect creatures 
one perfect being — it replaces the original self with 
another and dearer self; so that where once all 
thoughts and feelings culminated in the ego, they 
are now centered in Tu, This love knows neither 
change nor death — nor jealousy, strong as death ; 
for it places implicH trust in the beloved one — and 
if, by chance, that trust is misplaced— ah ! then," 
shuddering, and placing her hand on her bosom — 



THE GROTTO OF EGERIA. 



131 



" then the fountain of life is quenched, and the 
world say, ' Ah I she died of a broken heart.' But 
this love," she continued, pointing to heaven, " is 
there, and there only. While here, 

** • If there be a sympathy in choice, 
War, death, or sickness doth lay siege to it, 
Making it momentary as a sound, 
Swift as a shadow, brief as any dream. 

" Such our sad destiny !" 

Evelyn paused, and, coming close to me, seated 
herself; and taking my hand, she said, as her eyes 
slowly tilled with tears ; " Poor Balzano ! would 
that he had loved you, Mary. You have more 
heart to bestow than I have. Mine has depths, 
few — none may ever sound. And now, tell me, 
candidly, ought I to marry him?" 

She looked anxiously into my face. I scarcely 
knew what to reply. The strength of her — what 
shall I say? — imagination surprised me; or rather, 
are not the mind's ideal shapes more real than that 
which we term reality ? 

Evelyn withdrew her hand, and turned away dis- 
appointed. " I feared you would not understand 
me," she sighed. 

" Yes, dear," I replied. Though your character 
is a rare one, I can comprehend, and even sympa- 
thize with you. Still, it seems to me that you are 



133 



THE GROrrO OF EGERIA. 



wilfully throwing away another chance of happiness 
for a chimera — a visionary bliss you can never hope 
to realize. You will learn to love Balzano devotedly 
when you are once his wife — the angel of the sanc- 
tuary of his home." 

" Alas ! Mary, I shall never — ^never love him as 
I could — love, as I ought to love a husband. Still, 
I have a sincere affection for him, am deeply grate- 
ful for his devotion, and value all his noble quali- 
ties ; but our souls would forever remain apart. He 
could never dwell enshrined within the temple of 
my heart. I would give him all in my power to 
give. More than that I could not do. Pity me ! 
for the pain it will cost me to break this off. Indeed, 
I dread, above all, not being able to make him 
happy. Could I do so, if wretched myself?" 

"Well, dearest," I said, " if this be so, you must 
let him know, without further delay. My intention 
was to say this to you to-day ; but you have fore- 
stalled me. Let me, however, entreat you 4;o con- 
sider well — the time may come when you will, per- 
haps, deeply regret having rejected so honorable 
and noble a heart, for a caprice, a fancy. 

" Alas !" she rejoined, bitterly — " I feel that, 
whether I unite my fate with the noble Balzano, or 
whether I decide to remain alone and unloved, re- 



THE GROTTO OF EGEBTA. 



133 



gret will equally be mine. Such is my cruel 
destiny !" 

Just then we heard Ella's ringing laugh, and 
rose to meet them. 

On leaving the grotto, we perceived Balzano ; his 
hat, his pockets, his hands, all crammed with wild 
flowers and mosses for his pet's herbarium. As I 
looked on his fine open countenance, beaming 
with good nature, and now animated with the 
pleasure of amusing a child, I almost wondered at 
Evelyn's insensibility, even admitting he was no type 
of that spiritual beautj^ she had taken as her heau 
ideal. 

During our drive homeward, it struck me that 
Evelyn's manner was softer and kinder towards her 
lover than it had been for some time. Did she re- 
lent ? or was it the tender pity a woman ever feels 
toward a, suitor she is determined to reject, know- 
ing at the same time she is fondly loved ? 

We retired early to rest ; but, before we parted ^ 
for the night, I received Evelyn's promise that she 
would, onlhe following morning, enter into a full 
explanation with her betrothed. Of the particulars 
of that conversation I was made aware later. 

Punctually at twelve, to the minute, as per 
agreement, the duke entered our salon. Evelyn was 
alone. She was very pale, but calm and collected. 



134 



THE GEOTTO OF EGERIA. 



^^'Mon ami^'^ she began, " I wish to speak to you 
very seriously." 

"Why sOj anima miaf (my soul) — taking her 
hand, and dropping on one knee, as he gallantly 
raised the jeweled fingers to his lips — " why should 
we be serious, when everything smiles on our pro- 
jected union?'' 

" Hush, Balzano !" she replied, gently withdraw 
ing her hand, and motioning him to a chair. " Lis- 
ten to me for one moment. It is importatit to our 
happiness — indeed it is." 

Her solemn manner alarmed him ; for the ready 
tear stood in his dark eyes, and he said sadly ; 

" I see it all — you do not love me !" 

" Yes, dear friend — indeed — indeed I do. I think 
no one so good, so noble, so devoted as you." 

" Then what is it, cuore mio f " (my heart) — 
" speak." 

" I cannot !" said Evelyn, blushing, and not daring 
.to look her lover in the face — for she knew that she 
was deceiving him — " the fact is, I cannot be a 
Catholic just yet ; I should not like to confess." 

" If that is all, lady mine," said Balzano, again 
smiling, " it can soon be arranged. Indeed, what 
sins shall you have to confess, unless, perhaps," and 
he laughed — his old gay laugh — " you intend to 
like some one better than your husband ? " 



THE GROTTO OF EGERIA. 



135 



" Dear Balzano, forgive me, and let me have my 
own way this once — return to Naples, and let me 
go to Paris. I can profess Catholicism there ; and 
besides, that is the only place where your bride 
could get the elegant toilette she will require to do 
you honor. Eemember, Signor Duca, I shall be a 
Duchess." 

" Take your own way, my only beloved ; I will 
do as you bid me. But, ah ! I dread leaving you — 
1 have a presentiment of evil." 

He flung himself on his knees before her ; and 
they mingled sobs and tears. How long they re- 
mained thus, Evelyn never knew. She only felt 
him strain her for a moment to his breast, imprint 
a kiss on her brow, and then he was gone ; the door 
closed on the manly form, and the light of the kind 
and loving face no longer beamed upon her. 

They never met on earth again. 



CHAPTER XVI. 



ROSSINI. 



They never met on earth again. In this world 
where all is uncertain, how terrible are partings ! 
Which of us can utter that fatal word, farewell, and 
not feel a thrill through the heart of indistinct ter- 
ror — a vague perhaps^ which will whisper, who 
knows but that mine eyes have mirrored for the 
last time that familiar face, that loved form I that 
mine ears have drank in for the last time the music 
of that gentle voice ! It is fearful on what "trifles 
light as air,'' hang the destiny of a life. A glance, 
a word misconstrued, may forever separate those 
who till then, were fast friends ; forever banish them 
from out of our life. To those who have not the 
consoling hope of immortality in a brighter sphere, 
what a tangled, hopeless wilderness, must this world 
appear. And yet we live on ; we dress, and smile, 
and mix with the crowd ; we hide the never satis- 
fied yearnings of our hearts beneath the rich tissues 



BOSSINI. 



137 



of lace and satin, and comprcBs tlie sighs of the 
weary bosom with bands of diamonds and pearls. 
Such is life. 

We had now been some time in Paris — that city 
of fashion — where not to be hien hahille is a mortal 
sin. There neither beauty nor talent avail with a 
woman unless her chateau be from Laure or Baud- 
reant, and her robe modelled in the atelier of 
Koger or Delphine. If in addition, she be hand- 
some and agreeable, so much the better ; but even 
then, the first salutation would certainly be from 
ladies, and very probably from the sterner sex, " OKy 
Madame^ que vous etes elegante vous avez vraimeiit 
une toilette delicieusey 

Evelyn and myself, with Ella, who was now grow- 
ing up, used occasionally to spend our evenings in 
the salon of Rossini, to whom we had been presented 
in Florence, and who was now settled in a magnifi- 
cent apartment in the Chaussee d'Antin. Here we 
met, from time to time, all the celebrities of the 
artistic world, whether of music, painting or the 
dance ; also the leading journalists and musical crit- 
ics of the day, wit^i an occasional sprinkling of the 
heau monde. 

Hossini, at first sight, does not impose upon the 
mind as the greatest musical genius of his age, and 
one of the first of any era. You behold a simple 



138 



EOSSINI. 



old man, somewhat portly, with a face remarkable 
for its honhomie. The features fine, forehead high 
and intellectual, surmounted by, I regret to say, a 
very ugly wig of reddish brown ; withall, a fresh, 
but not red complexion, of which any much younger 
man might be proud. He looks a dear, benevolent 
old man, who would greatly enjoy a good dinner, 
and this, in fact, is the case. Such would be a first 
sight judgment, but a better acquaintance would 
show that the benign countenance could light up 
with the sourire fin and the malice we should ex- 
pect to find in the author of the first and best of 
musical comedies — the ever fresh, the peerless, the 
immortal " Barbiere di Seviglia." Eossini has ac- 
quired the reputation of being very satirical — ill- 
naturedly so. Yet it is not the case, for true mod- 
esty, combined with real talent, could never meet 
with a kinder, more generous, or more indulgent 
critic tlian in him. Unhappily, however, the salon 
of Kossini is besieged by a crowd of know-nothings 
who imagine that to display their mediocre acquire- 
ments before this great man, is to partake in some 
measure of his genius. Poor fools ! if they had only 
seen, as I have, the persecuted composer rub- 
bing his head, (a habit with him when annoyed), till 
his very wig was actually turned hind before, from 
sheer nervous excitement, I think, I say, had they 



ROSSINI. 



139 



beheld this, even shrill sopranos and roaring bari- 
tones, would have ceased in pity from the remorse- 
less murders they were perpetrating upon the dear 
children of his brain. Once I remember, when a 
cruel lady had worried him past bearing, and add- 
ing insult to injury, had changed almost every note 
in his aria, and worse than all, expected a compli- 
ment from her victim, the maestro advanced to 
the piano, and said in his mild, soft voice, " Pray, 
madame, who is the composer of that music ?" 

On another occasion he observed to a prima don- 
na, whose singing was more remarkable for execu- 
tion than expression, " Madame, you sing with won- 
derful agilite ; you are rapid as a railway train, but 
you know I am afraid of railways." 

Hei e let me remark that Kossini's cowardice is 
great as his genius. He fears everything" — railways, 
the sea, illness; more than all, death. The idea of 
the latter appears to embitter all his life ; it is the 

One shadow that throws, 
Its bleak shade alike o'er his joys and his woes." 

He has no religious belief — no hope which divests 
the grave of its terrors. Rossini confesses to being 
a coward, and often turns the laugh against himself. 
I remember with what humor he once recounted to 



140 BOSSINI. 

US an incident of his early youth. He was at Na- 
ples during one of its many political convulsions, 
and was, much to his disgust, made a " garde Ra- 
tionale," and, of course, expected to take turns of 
duty with the others. The young musician excused 
himself on the plea of his well-known want of cour- 
age. His excuse, however, was not accepted. Poor 
Gioacchino was equipped en militaire, furnished 
with a musket, and ordered into the sentry-box to 
keep guard. 

" I entered," said Rossini, " and remained there 
about an hour, trembling in every limb. At last I 
heard, or thought I heard, footsteps. I laid down 
my musket gently, and slipped out of my gmrite, 
and then I ran as fast as my legs could carry me, 
and never stopped till I reached home and was safe 
under the blankets in my bed. In the morning they 
put me under arrest, and would have shot me. — 
But," added Rossini, with evident pride, " I escaped 
because I was the author of 'II Barhiere."* " 

The father of the young genius was by no means 
remarkable for musical talent. He used to play the 
horn in the orchestra conducted by his son. One 
day Papa played too outrageously false to escape 
censure. 

" Who is that bad horn ?" said young Rossini, pre- 
tending ignorance. 



ROSSINI. 



141 



" It is I, mj son," said Rossini pere. 
" Then, papa, I am sorrj, but you must leave the 
orchestra." 

One more hon tnot I must mention. One 
evening, on our return from the performance 
of " La Gazza Ladra," at the Italian Opera, we went 
to pay a visit to the Maestro, Kossini manifested 
the most perfect indifference as regarded the vocal- 
ists, but made anxious enquiries as to the way in 
which the magpie had performed her part. Many 
other anecdotes might be recounted, but here we 
can give but a passing notice of this wonderful man 
— wonderful in his greatness, and scarcely less so in 
his weaknesses. Usually silent in general society, 
it is in a tete-d-tete with a sympathetic companion, 
that Rossini betrays the versatility of his genius 
and the extent of his information. He appears con- 
versant with all subjects. Notwithstanding the rich 
vein of humor which sparkles in his music and in 
his conversation, Rossini, like Byron, is a melan- 
choly man. Nor is this singular, for I have invari- 
ably found that the wittiest and most sjpirituel are 
ever the saddest ; and those who press to their lips 
with the keenest relish the cup of pleasure, when 
the moments of excitement and intoxication are over, 
too frequently drain to the very dregs the chalice of 
misery. 



142 



ROSSINI. 



Rossini was mncli attached to Evelyn, her re- 
markable musical talents and profound worship of 
his genius, made them a most happy pair of friends. 
On her acquainting him with her possible marriage 
with the Due di Balzano, My child," replied the 
old man, " Never marry except for one of three 
things : a great name, a great talent, or a large for- 
tune." 

'Tis true for him matrimony had offered but few 
attractions. From his first wife — Madame Colbran 
— a singer of undoubted talent, the maestro was 
soon separated. As to the second, let us respect 
her name, she is yet living, but I fear she conduces 
little to the domestic comfort of her lord. It is 
remarkable how few celebrities of either sex have 
been happy in their affections. Commencing with So- 
crates and his Xantippe, we may cite Milton, Shake- 
speare, Byron, Dante, Tasso, Goethe, Mrs. Hemans, 
Mrs. Norton, and a crowd of others, all mis-matched 
or crossed in love, wliile Mr. and Mrs. Jones, and 
Tom Smith and wife, with A and B, and numerous 
other worthies, whose thoughts are centred in 
pounds or dollars, as may be, and their multiplied 
progeny, are perfectly content. Is it that they have 
bodies but no souls to satisfy ? or doth God when 
he confers on his children the divine gift of creative 
power, ever twine with thorns the laurel wreath 



KOSSINI. 



143 



which encircles their noble brow, baptizing them for 
His own with the drops of agony wrung from their 
hearts? So thought and so feared our heroine, and 
Rossini confirmed her in her resolve to preserve her 
liberty for the present. 

Evelyn had continued to correspond with Balza- 
no, but still repudiated the idea of marriage on the 
plea that she could not at present conscientiously 
change her belief. The latter, after some months, 
became, very naturally, anxious that his ladye-love 
should come to some decision, and to enable her 
to do so, he consented, he said, to her remaining a 
Protestant, and would, on receiving her reply, at 
once exert his interest to get a dispensation from tha 
Pope. Thus was my fair friend obliged at last 
either to accept the love of one to whom she felt 
unable to give her whole heart, or to lose the friend- 
ship, perhaps forever, of the man she esteemed most 
on eartli — a common but not the less an unpleasant 
dilemma. Well, what did she do ? Why, she put 
off answerinoc the letter as long as she could : asked 
the advice of all her friends on a point on which she 
alone could judge ; and after having consulted 
every one was as far from a decision as ever. 

Evelyn, like all very impressionable people, was 
apt to be greatly influenced by her surroundings ; yet 
was she not inconstant. She would forget, for the 



144 



Rossren. 



moment, and appear to be utterly free from all 
thought of the absent; but the excitement past, 
she would return with deeper passion to the memo- 
ries of by-gone days. As yet, no one had approached 
Balzano in her heart. He still reigned alone — 
manly, noble', tender, the kind protector, the devo- 
ted friend; and yet she hesitated to make him 
happy, and, I must add, to be happy herself — for 
what woman could be otherwise with such a man ? 

Another letter, still more pressing, came from the 
now anxious lover. Was his friend sick ? in trou- 
ble ? She was but to say one word. He would fly 
to her — to her he must love till the pulses of life 
ceased to beat — his bride, his soul, his delight. 

I found Evelyn in tears, with the open letter in 
her hand. " I will certainly write to-morrow," she 
said. 



CHAPTEE XYIL 



THE STAR OF DESTINY.' 

The to-morrow of our good intentions, sometimes, 
it may be frequently, never dawns. On this par- 
ticular to-morrow, according to Parisian custom, we 
were to be at home to our friends. 

Our morning was devoted to the duties of the 
toilet and those of the menage. There was a duett 
to be practiced for piano and harp by myself and 
Ella, who now played that graceful instrument with 
exquisite taste. She was also to accompany her 
mother on the harp, in the lovely romance and 
prayer from Rossini's Otello, by particular request 
of the Maestro himself. Evelyn received well. 
Her salon was much frequented by artistes and 
men of letters ; and a few charming female friends 
added greatly to the brilliancy of these reunions. 

A thorough musician herself, she had a perfect hor- 
ror of the usual style of amateur singing ; and no 
one was permitted, at her house, to display their 

7 



14:6 



THE STAR OF DESTINY. 



mediocrity at the expense of the nerves of the com- 
pany. 

Our apartment was situate in the Avenue Gabriel 
— to my taste, the most delightful location in Paris, 
l^ear, yet not actually in, the Champs Elysees, it 
combines cheerfulness and gaiety with privacy and 
retirement. Our apartment was au rez de chaussee 
(on the ground floor), all the rooms, as is usual in 
Paris, suite. It had been furnished with remark- 
able taste by a Pussian Princess, who, being sud- 
denly recalled by the Czar, was glad to let her 
apartment to English ladies — on, to us, most advan- 
tageous terms. We were, therefore, lodged as few 
strangers may hope to be. The suite of rooms were 
now thrown open, and brilliantly lighted — all ex- 
cept Evelyn's boudoir, which led into the conserva- 
tory, and in which reigned a subdued light, inviting 
to lovers or to those who prefer to muse in soli- 
tude and watch the crowd from afar. At present, 
all were congregated in the salon^ around the fair 
hostess, who herself looked like a queen surrounded 
by her court. 

" Ah ! ma chere^^ exclaimed a pretty vivacious lit- 
tle marquise, perfumed like a rose, as only a French 
woman can be — " your soiree is really charming — 
delicious — but pardon me, there are two things, or 



THE STAR OF DESTINT. 



147 



rather persons, wanting to make your reunion per- 
fect." 

"Indeed," replied Evelyn, smiling; " and pray, 
who may these be ?" 

"ITay, you must guess," rejoined another fair 
lady of the party ; " for, at present, those two per- 
sons are iudispensible in the heau monde.^'* 

" Perhaps," suggested Evelyn, " you mean my 
dear friend Rossini ?" 

" Oh ! no ; we are all aware he is quite a her- 
mit." 

The Emperor, perhaps, and the peerless Castig- 
lione?" 

"Neither, I assure you," persisted the pretty 
marquise. 

" Well, Wagner, the ' musician of the future.' " 

"Madame, you surprise me," said a beautiful 
Spanish countess, advancing into the circle — "you 
a dams du grand monde^ and not to have heard of 
the great magician par exemple 

" And who, pray, may that be, countess ?" 

"Oh!" drawled an Englishman, "the man who calls 
up the devil, and made IS'apoleon come out of his 
tomb and sign his name, or something of that sort." 

" And," added another, " frightened poor Euge- 
nie out of her wits." 

" No very difficult matter, either," growled an old 



148 



THE STAR OF DESTINY. 



legitimist with a brown wig, " considering how few 
wits she has, if report speak true." 

" Fi done, monsieur^'' or " not so bad," chimed in 
the audience at this rather obvious witticism in 
every sense. 

"I suppose," said Evelyn "you mean Home, the 
Medium. We are, I believe, to meet him next 
week. So your swan, Madame la Marquise, has 
turned out to be a goose, after all. And now for 
that other, without whom no party is complete." 

" That, madame," said a young Frenchman, full 
of conceit and affectation, " is a long-bony American, 
about whom, it appears, all the ladies are raving — 
though, ma foi, I cannot imagine wliat for, except 
that they say he is enormously rich." 

" Precisely so," said the perfumed little marquise, 
"but monsieur is jealous, for my Yankee is very 
handsome, but disdainful, d h'iser le coeur — Mon- 
sieur D'Arcy." 

" D'Arcy," exclaimed Evelyn, " I expect him here 
to-night. Madame de Yilliers has requested per- 
mission to present him, and " 

At this moment the folding doors were thrown 
open, and a charming and aristocratic looking elder- 
ly lady, richly but simply attired, entered leaning 
on the arm of a gentleman, whom she presented 
with much empressement to the lady of the house. 



THE STAR OF DESTINY. 



149 



"Talk of his Satanic Majesty," whispered the 
Englishman, while a smile might be perceived on 
more than one pair of rosy lips, as the unconscious 
object of all this 'persiflage advanced into the 
charmed circle and gracefully paid his devoirs to its 
presiding genius. 

Philip D'Arcy was one of those rarely endowed 
beings who, at first sight, impress you with a sense 
of power — you feel you are in the presence of one 
born to command. Where this moral force is com- 
bined with magnetic influence, or odic affinity, if you 
please so to term that irresistible attraction we all 
have felt, more or less at times, then the fascination 
of such a being is irresistible. He can draw you 
according to the degree of your sensitive nature, in- 
to his sphere, as into a vortex. Nor can you escape. 
— Fatal gift, if dissevered from heart and principle! 

Mr. D'Arcy may have been about thirty ; slight- 
ly above the medium stature, his erect and lofty 
bearing gave the idea of greater height than he ac- 
tually possessed. But for this too — the extreme 
delicacy of his form, (a defect common to the trans- 
atlantic race of the ]N"orthern States), might perhaps, 
have been considered as somewhat detracting from 
the manliness of his appearance. To say that the 
features were chiselled, were little. Intellect sat 
enthroned on the regal brow, and the deep set eyes 



150 



THE STAR OF DESTINY. 



— calm, blue, and unfathomable as the ocean — 
seemed the fitting mirror of " the human soul di- 
vine." The lips firmly closed, pale, and somewhat 
severe in their habitual expression, could, neverthe- 
less, occasionally wear a smile of rare beauty. The 
complexion, white as Parian marble, harmonized 
well with the crisply curling locks, and the full 
beard, of that cold, brown tint, which almost uni- 
versally accompanies the refined style of male beau- 
ty. Mr. D'Arcy engaged Evelyn in that light con- 
versation which, well talked^ has so much charm, 
and beneath which occasionally runs a vein of the 
deepest sentiment or the richest humor. But the 
tete-d-Ute was not of long duration. 

Most pressing entreaties drew our heroine to the 
harp, before w^hich Ella was seated, having already 
commenced the exquisite accompaniment which 
preludes the " willow song" of the gentle Desdemo- 
na. Ella was now in her fifteenth year. The warm 
sun of Italy had almost visibly ripened the child of 
a year since into premature w^omanhood. Though 
of a form so slight as to appear almost etherial, she 
was already taller than her mother, and so pure was 
her girlish beauty, so infantine her air of candid in- 
nocence, you might have fancied her the youngest 
and loveliest of the nymphs of Diana. Her small, 
Grecian head seemed actually bending under the 



THE STAR OF DESTINY. 



151 



weight of the rich masses of soft, blond hair, wliich 
formed a triple crown above the classic brow, and 
fastened in a knot behind, fell in a liixmiance of 
clustering curls to the slender throat. 

Though like in feature, Ella formed a striking 
contrast to her mother ; and for the first time I con- 
fessed that it were difiicult to decide which might 
bear the palm, the dazzling beauty and ever-varying 
expression of the still young matron, or the timid, 
retiring loveliness of the girl. The one appeared 
as a royal rose, in all her splendor ; the other, a ten- 
der bud, shrinking even from the kiss of the sun- 
beam — the former, a gorgeous tropical plant, whose 
rare beauty can only be equalled by its fragrance ; 
the latter, a sweet and modest lily, hiding amid 
its leaves in the greenest and most sequestered 
dell, haunted alone by fairy footsteps. 

Evelyn had never sung so well. The rich tones 
of her voice vibrated with sentiment, as she por- 
trayed the sorrows of the loving but forsaken wife. 
The audience forgot to applaud, (the greatest com- 
pliment that can be paid to a singer.) The lovely 
minstrel's own eyes were humid with emotion. 
Ella looked a coldness she perhaps did not feel. 
Mr. D'Arcy advanced to the harp. 

"Madame," he said, " compliment to 2/<9?^ would 
be misplaced. The genius of Rossini has found ki 



152 



THE STAR OF DESTINY. 



your own a worthy interpreter. You have sang as 
he must have desired in his moments of deepest in- 
spiration — when the ideal descending embraced the 
real. Nay," — as she prepared to disclaim the praise 
so delicious to a true artiste, from one whose taste 
and judgment is felt to be unimpeachable — "nay, 
fairest songstress," — and he smiled that smile of 
rare fascination which thrilled to the very inmost of 
her being — " if I have praised, it is because I have 
felt the pathos of those sympathetic tones, the poe- 
try breathing through each phrase of melody, and 
Ij" he added, as if to himself, " so rarely indulge in 
the luxury of emotion. But pray, Mrs. Travers, 
present me to the young lady who has so ably sec- 
onded you." 

" To my daughter? Certainly — she is but a child. 
Ella, dearest, Mr. D'Arcy would make your ac- 
quaintance." 

The young girl bent to the salutation of the 
stranger, and a blush of the softest pink ov^erspread 
features, throat and arms, reaching even to the 
ends of the taper fingers, as she timidly replied in 
monosyllables to the few words of common- place 
civility he addressed to her. 



CHAPTEK XVni. 



A. SERIOUS CHAPTER. 

One morning about a fortnight after Evelyn's last 
evening reception, Mr. D'Arcy was announced. 

" I take the liberty," said he, " of intruding on a 
day that I know you are not at home to all 
the world, in the hope of escaping the usual toilette 
talk at ladies' receptions." 

" We are happy to see you, on your own terms, 
Mr. D'Arcy — the more so, as the part of the hostess 
is rather an ungrateful one. She is forced to con- 
verse chiffons^ and other frivolities, when she 
would perhaps prefer to philosophize, if ladies ever 
dare appear so blue." 

" It is for this," replied he, " that I dislike lady's 
* days.'' One can never approach the mistress of 
the house herself, except to make some common- 
place observation about the weather, the opera, the 
' premiere representation ' at the Yarietes — qui 
sait P with a French shrug of the shoulders. 

7* 



154 



A SERIOUS CHAPTER. 



" Oh, Mr. D'Arcy, in pity do not imitate the 
French at my house," exclaimed Evelyn. " If you 
only knew how their manners — half-monkey, half- 
hairdresser — annoy me." 

" Madame, I stand rebuked," with a mock respect- 
ful bow ; ^' but seriously, though it is treason to 
say it in so fairy-like a bower, my visit to-day ia 
rather on business than pleasure. I come as ambas- 
sador from Mme. de Yilliers to endeavor to per- 
suade you, ladies, to come to her this evening, and 
meet Home, the wonder-working medium, about 
whom all Paris is talking." 

"Forestalled," exclaimed Evelyn, gaily; "we 
were initiated yesterday into some of these weird 
doings, at the house of an English lady." 

" Indeed," said D'Arcy, with evident interest — 
" and what, may I ask, did you witness ?" 

" Well, we placed ourselves in a circle of about 
nine persons, and in a few minutes we heard raps ; 
by the alphabet, we were i-equested to remove the 
lights, and after we had done so, an accordeon, 
which was lying on the table, * discoursed most 
excellent music,' no one touching it. Then, by the 
dim light, we perceived a Inind, white' and beauti- 
fully formed — and this hand presented me with a 
-real geranium, and others of the circle with differ- 
ent flowers." 



A SERIOUS CHAPTER. 



155 



" You are, then, favorably disposed toward the 
subject of spiritualism?" enquired D'Arcy. 

"All I saw has deeply impressed me," replied 
Evelyn ; and I cannot think it altogether a delu- 
sion, for I distinctly felt in my fingers the vibration 
of the table before each rap, and frequently knew 
the answer about to be made by the (so-called) 
spirits, to questions asked by members of the cir- 
cle." 

" Ah ! then you must yourself be a medium?" 

" Delightful ! There is nothing I should like 
better. You must explain to us these mys- 
teries, and convert my friend there also, for she 
is a sad infidel." 

" I suppose," I rejoined, "I am too matter-of-fact, 
and have too little imagination to be caught by 
what I cannot but consider as a mere trick to amuse 
children, and utterly unworthy rational beings, 
whether in or out of the body." 

" Pardon me. Miss Mildmay," said D'Arcy, "but 
if these knockings, which appear to you so puerile, 
have been tested and proved not to be tricks, and 
that such and similar manifestations have been the 
means of convincing the confirmed sceptic that 
there is an actual hereafter, it appears to me that the 
spirits of the departed are rather occupied in a good 



15G 



A BEEIOUS CHAPTER. 



work, and tliat we have at least * method in our 
madness.' " 

" But," I answered, " surely the Bible is all-suffi- 
cient for the salvation of the world.'' 

" No one, my dear Miss Mildmay," replied 
D'Arcy, " reveres the Bible more than myself — yet 
I am bound to confess it never convinced me. Till 
my eyes were opened to the perception that spirit 
really does exist, palpably, apart from matter, the 
Bible was to me as a sealed book. In earlier 
youth, I worshipped as my deity the intellect of 
man, smiling in contempt at the idea of a blind faith 
in the mysteries of Religion, which I looked upon 
as the foolish inventions of a venal and ignorant 
priesthood. It was through the much despised 
manifestations of the spirit circle, that I first real- 
ized the * certain hope of a blessed immortality,' 
and learned to bow my reason before the Divine in- 
spirations — in fine, I 'believed.'''' 

D'Arcy spoke with the deepest feeling, but calm- 
ly, and as a man whose doubts were for ever at 
rest. You recognized in each word the power of a 
great mind, and instead of wishing to cavil, you felt 
your place was rather to sit at his feet and learn. 

*' One question I would ask," said Evelyn. — 
" Might not these phenomena be produced by mag- 



A SEKIOTJS CHAPTER. 



157 



netic influence, and so be accounted for in a merely 
natural way ?" 

" Undoubtedly, Mrs. Travers. Human magnet- 
ism and tlie will-power are almost omnipotent as 
physical forces, and also as influencing the mental 
faculties ; but the communications being not only 
intelligent, but actually and frequently even con- 
trary to the desires and expectations of the circle, 
precludes the idea of entirely accounting for them 
in the way you have very plausibly suggested. Be- 
sides, the phenomena of direct writing and drawing 
could be explained by no other theory than that of 
supernatural intervention. Electric shocks, too, 
have been sensibly felt, and exquisite odours have 
filled the room — and this in the presence of wit- 
nesses, many of them men of superior learning, in- 
telligence, and undoubted piety, who would not for 
worlds have been made the instruments of propa- 
gating fraudulent or erroneous doctrines." 

" If you have personally witnessed all you speak 
of," I said, " I confess that even my incredulity 
must at last give way before such evidence." 

" Gently, Miss Mildmay," interposed D'Arcy. " I 
desire that each and every one may see and judge 
for themselves, feeling convinced that no person of 
average mental powers, having investigated the 
subject fairly and with candor, could continue a 



158 



A SERIOUS CHAPTEE. 



sceptic. To assist you, however, in your research, 
let me recommend to your notice ' Owen's Footfalls 
on the Boundaries of Another World.' Likewise the 
works of Andrew Jackson Davis. Also, the ^Arca- 
na of Christianity,' by the Rev. T. L. Harris, and 
the eloquent and spiritual discourses of the latter 
author; lastly, a gem of beauty, a perfect string 
of pearls, the ' Foregleams of Immortal it}^,' by Sears. 
This latter work, with those of Mr. Harris, are writ- 
ten in the very spirit of true Biblical and catholic 
Christianity, untrammelled by the narrgw-minded- 
ness of sectarianism. Read these books, not for- 
getting to breathe a prayer for light, attend some 
circles, and I think in six mouths from this time 
you will tell me that you are really ' born again, 
and a new creature,' so different will be your 
views of the infinite destinies of the divine human 
spirit — so shadowy will appear the present, so real, 
so near the future." 

I looked at him, struck with the intenseness of 
his manner — his large, blue, serious eyes, filled 
with the far-off look, of those whose spirits live in 
perpetual communion with the inner world. Like 
Ananias, it appeared to me that scales fell from the 
eyes of my soul, and I began to see things for the 
first time in their true light. Evelyn also was 



A SERIOUS CHAFrKR. 



159 



deeply impressed ; after a pause of emotion, she 
was the first to break silence. 

" May I ask," she said, " what first induced you, 
with your manly intellect and infidel sympathies, 
to take suflicient interest in this subject to attend a 
circle? — for if I judge you aright, curiosity alone 
would scarcely have drawn you there." 

"You have justly divined, Mrs. Travers, and I 
will tell you all." 

He paused, and then resumed with deep and 
touching emotion — 

" A young girl, whom I loved, God knows how 
fondly, was taken from me in the bloom of youth, 
and on the eve of marriage, by a fearful accident, 
which left her not a vestige of beauty — burned to 
death," he said, with a shudder. " A confirmed in- 
fidel, with no hope — crushed, tortured, maddened 
by the idea that she was lost to me forever, I cursed 
my cruel fate, and should have put an end to a 
hateful existence, had not pride whispered, * Do not 
be mastered by your destiny ; conquer it — live/ 
And I lived. At this time, I heard much of the 
Miss Foxes, and of the wonderful things occurring 
in their presence. An impression I could not shake 
off led me to their house. In bitter mockery, I 
asked myself, Am I insane ? I went to scoff — be it 
said — but returned to pray. A communication 



160 



A SERIOUS CHAPTER. 



came thus by raps — ' Do not mourn for me, Philip. 
I am happy now. I was taken from you, because 
you enveloped your soul in pride as in a mantle. 
Dear Philip ! you must become as a little child. 

" ' Lilian.' 

" Imagine my surprise ; for I was in a strange 
city, where none knew me. I am not ashamed to con- 
fess, that tears, foreign to my nature, came unbidden 
to my eyes, and the prayer arose to my lips — 
* Teach me the truth, Oh ! God.' That prayer, dear 
friends, has been answered. Since that time I have 
been happy ; for I now look at this life in the light 
of the other." 

" 'Tis a beautiful faith," said Evelyn, "that our 
loved ones are still about our path — our guardian 
angels, perhaps." 

"It is a faith I would not lose," said D'Arcy, 
" for worlds of untold wealth." 

He drew from his neck a delicate hair chain, 
with a locket attached. Touching a spring, we 
peceived the miniature of a beautiful young girl. 
" That portrait," said D'Arcy, " was painted by a 
spirit medium, after my Lilian had passed away — it 
is her very self — but spiritualized." 

" How exquisitely lovely !" I exclaimed. 

" Heavens I how like Ella 1" cHed Evelyn. 



CHAPTER XIX. 



LEAVES FROM A LADy's DIARY. 

March \Zth. — I have, of late, greatly neglected 
my journal, not from want of time, neither for lack 
of incident nor material for thought and feeling — 
rather the reverse. 

Since my last musical reception, I have not pen- 
ned one line. Oh ! that night is a kind of era in 
my life. I then made the acquaintance of a remark- 
able man — perhaps the most uncommon person I 
ever met. It is not only that he is very, very hand- 
some, nor highly intellectual, nor most refined in 
manners — it is that, over and above all these quali- 
fications, he possesses, in a wonderful degree, the 
power of attraction — magnetism, if you will — the 
je ne sais quoi of the French. You forget self in 
his presence, and think of him only. I cannot 
analyze my feelings. I only know, that, as the soft 
and musical tones of that voice fell on my ear, as I 
felt the magic of that glance in my inmost soul, the 



162 



LEAVES FROM A LADy's DIARY. 



words uttered by Ladj Caroline Lamb, wlien first 
she beheld Byron, came unbidden to my memory, 
and seemed to me as a foreboding of sorrow — 

" That pale face is my fate !" 

I murmured, as a vague terror crept over me. 

On the morning we received Mr. D'Arcy's first 
visit — Mary and myself — our conversation turned 
upon spiritual manifestations. I sat and listened — 
for my own experience and the clairvoyant powers 
of Ella had long since set me wondering. D'Arcy, 
it appears, is a firm believer. He recounted to us 
the circumstances which led to his conversion. 
Lilian — what a sweet name ! Ah ! instead of pity- 
ing, I almost envied her. Did he not say that he 
had loved her fondly — that he still wore her minia- 
ture next his heart*? Happy Lilian! Would I 
could change with thee — to have drained the cup 
of intoxicating bliss to the dregs, and then to die, 
to pass away in the freshness of youth — hopes un- 
deceived — trust unshaken — loving, beloved, regret- 
ted, happy Lilian ! See the reverse, fair spirit, and 
pity poor Evelyn's far sadder fate ! Behold her as 
the wretched wife of one totally unsuited to her — 
then, as the mui'deress of the noble, the loving Kegi- 
nald — lastly, as the faithless betrothed of the gener- 
ous-hearted Balzano ; and wherefore? Because she 



LEAVES FROM A LADt's DIARY. 



163 



is not of the happy ''few, who find what they love 
or could have loved," and who, therefore, are influ- 
enced through life by " accident, blind contact, and 
the strong necessity of loving^'' — that touchstone of 
woman's weakness and folly. 

^\st. — My Ella's birthday. She is now fifteen, 
and in the eyes of a partial mother, the loveliest of 
God's feminine creation. Mr. D'Arcy brought her 
a bouquet of the most priceless hot-honse flowers of 
the purest white — emblematic, he said, of her ethe- 
rial nature. How good of him to think of her. 
Tliough but a child, she doubtless reminds him of 
his Lilian. I have observed those limpid and un- 
fathomable eyes of his fixed upon her more than 
once in silent contemplation. He is now a frequent 
visitor — perhaps too frequent. There are flowers so 
fair, fruits so tempting, that we forget the danger 
which lurks within. We inhale their perfume ; we 
press to our lips their luscious juice, and we jperish, 

Zlst, — ^The first mild day of spring. The air from 
the conservatory enters laden with the breath of 
flowers. I feel the blood pulsating in my veins 
with unusual ardor. There is a bouquet of Farm a 
violets by my side, sent by him. Their perfume 
inebriates my senses; an indefinable charm pene- 



164 LEAVES FROM A LADy's DIARY. 



trates my whole being. If, after all, he loves me ! 
Oh ! hush ! foolish heart be still. Such happiness 
is not for earth. And yet, I think he is not indif- 
ferent. Friendship from him is preferable to love 
from another — yes, it would content me. But then, 
friends part, to meet again God alone knows when. 
This is terrible ; and what is friendship when love 
intervenes, for another. Oh ! that thought is tor- 
ture. Why, what an ingenious self-tormentor am I. 
"Why search the possible future to embitter the hap- 
py reality of the present. If the worst comes I can 
die — no, we cannot die, we live ; live forever with 
an eternal passion in the heart, when we make of a 
mere mortal the " god of our idolatry." 

April 16th, — This evening, it being ray reception 
day, and a few intimates having collected in our 
salon, the conversation turned upon love and jeal- 
ousy. 

"I cannot," observed D'Arcy, "understand the 
simultaneous existence of these two passions in one 
bosom." 

" How," cried one of the party, " has not jealousy 
been termed the ' child of insatiate love V " 

^ Nay, rather," rejoined D'Arcy, " has not Ten- 
nyson more aptly described this passion as ' dead 



LEAVES FROM A LADy's DIARY. 165 

love's harsh heir jealous pride.' Where true love 
exists, believe me, there can be no jealousy." 

"Ah !" I exclaimed, and I felt the warm blood 
mount to my temples, " Mr. D'Arcy is right. True 
love must be based on esteem, and cannot, there- 
fore, live without perfect confidence." 

" You have divined me," said D'Arcy, with that 
smile of rare sweetness peculiar to him ; "jealousy 
originates in mistrust, and is, therefore, an insult 
when unfounded." 

" But supposing you had cause," said another of 
the circle. 

" Then," replied he, with an almost stern severity, 
" I should no longer love." 

"Ah ! ah ! monsieur," said a pretty little French- 
woman, " I differ, quite. As for me, I am jealous ; 
as a wolf — a tiger." 

A general laugh followed this innocent and truly 
French sally, from all but D'Arcy, who bowing pro- 
foundly, and with an air of inimitable, mock humil- 
ity, said : 

" Then, madame, I am most unhappy, for I can 
never make love to you." 

" This is growing too serious," I said ; " let me 
introduce to you, Mr. D'Arcy, as a poet, and my 
friend, Miss Mildmay, as a musician second only to 



166 LEAVES FEOM A LADy's DIARY. 

Rossini. Ella will sing you a song of their joint 
composition. It is really charming." 

I here transcribe the words, which, with the mu- 
sic, met with great success : 

THE SPIRIT OF LOVE. 

My spirit dwelleth in myrtle bowers, 

Where the breezes wax faint with the perfume of flowers, 

And the queen rose blushes a brighter hue, 

As I shed o'er her leaves, the early dew. 

On a sunbeam I sit enthron'd in light, 

And chase with my wand the shades of night, 

And oft beneath the moon's pale beam 

I weave with sweet fancies the maiden's dream. 

Deep in the woods, the nightingale 

Telleth to me her love-lorn tale ; 

With the glorious lark, I soar on high 

As her thrilling notes ring thro' earth and sky. 

I love to skim o'er the pathless seas, 

Syren-like, singing sweet melodies, 

And the home-sick mariner feels my power 

In the loneliness of that star-lit hour. 

But, oh ! far more do I love to sip 

The fragrant dew on beauty's lip, 

To braid each tress of her wavy hair, 

And tinge with bright blushes her cheek so fair : 

O'er the poet's couch my spirit bendeth, 

And my form with his visions softly blendeth. 

While he whose soul sweet music fires 

L glad with the strains of the seraph choirs. 



LEAVES FROM A LADy's DIARY. 167 

April ^^th. — The old adage, " Love is blind," is 
by no means true, at least in my case. Cupid for 
me never fails to put on a pair of magnifying 
glasses, which have the power of exaggerating 
alike the virtues and defects of those who have 
with me entered the lists of the tournament of love. 
I have detested many an admirer for " trifles light 
as air," cruelly criticising his dress, voice, manner, 
or tastes ; and I once took a fancy to a person, 
mainly because his gloves fitted exquisitely — and 
had the other qualities corresponded, my fancy 
would, doubtless, have taken other shape. But, to 
return. To what a severe scrutiny have I not sub- 
jected Philip D'Arcy ; but, " alas ! and well-a-day," 
I find no fault in him. Men frequently term him 
efi'eminate-looking ; and it is true, that he is formed 
in a delicate, rather than a robust mould ; but this 
suits well with that spiritual style of beauty so pre- 
eminent in him : and who could fail to read in the 
pose of that noble head, in the expression of the 
compressed and chiselled lips, moral grandeur, in- 
domitable will. Women, too, frequently call him 
cold. Ah ! they have not marked, as I have, that 
glance of flame which (rarely, it is true) flashes 
from ^the depth of those orbs, usually so serene, so 
untroubled. The volcano may be smouldering, but 



168 LEAVES FBOM A LADY's DIARY. 

it is not extinct. Long years of self-control may 
have schooled the heart ; but its pulses, neverthe- 
less, throb warmly, passionately, humanly, still. 

May ^th. — Mr. D'Arcy possesses, in a remarka- 
ble degree, the povi^er of affecting the heart and 
imagination with what remains unspoken. He 
sets you thinking. In his presence, you brush 
the rust from your mind, and new ideas flow in 
upon you. To-day, he spoke to us of Swedenborg, 
and of the charming and consoling doctrine of that 
great Christian seer ; that however lonely our earthly 
lot, however mistaken we may have been in our 
choice of a mate, those who by perseverance in 
well doing eventually become angels, will, sooner 
or later, meet with their true conjugal partner — 
their other self — in a higher sphere. A beautiful 
philosophy, and not unreasonable, when we con- 
sider that love, in its true sense, is the strongest and 
purest, as well as the most exquisitely delightful 
sentiment of our nature : nor would the Creator have 
implanted this passion in our souls, but that He in- 
tended to satisfy it to the full ; if, therefore, sad 
experience shows how rarely on earth we are truly 
mated, it follows, logically, that this sweetest and 
tenderest of the spirit's yearnings looks for realiza- 
tion in a higher sphere of being. Such, at least, is 



LEAVES FROM A LADT's DIARY. 



169 



D'Arcy's firm belief; such also, he tells me, is that 
of many of the most eminently intellectual and 
spiritual of his countrymen and countrywomen. 
Mary is, of course, charmed : she says there is, at 
l^st, some chance for her. 




8 



CHAPTER XX. 



THE SISTER OF MERCY. 

It was now the middle of summer, and remarka- 
bly hot for the season. All our friends had left, or 
were leaving Paris, and yet we still lingered on in 
our pretty apartment of the Avenue Gabriel. 

One morning, suddenly looking up from my em- 
broidery, I was struck with the pallor of Evelyn's 
countenance, and the look of weariness she wore. 
A book was lying open on a table near ; but she did 
not read. Silently she dreamed, her head resting 
on her hand. 

" Dear Evelyn," 1 said, while she started as one 
aroused from sleep ; " shall we not soon go to the 
country ? You look far from well — and Ella would 
cull fresh roses at the sea, or at Baden." 

" Ella is very well," she answered listlessly, " and 
attends her classes daily. I, too, am well enough," 
and she heaved a sigh so heartsore it was almost a 
sob. 



THE SISTER OF MERCY. 



171 



"Indeed, dearest, you have been siifl'ering for 
three weeks — ever since the hist ball at the Tuiller- 
ies, when yoa looked like a sunset cloud, as Mr. 
D'Arcv said." She gave a short, quick start, " all 
in golden colored tulle and hazy blonde. I never 
saw you look more lovely." 

" ^ot enough," returned Evelyn gloomily, " would 
I w^ere a thousand times more beautiful. Even then," 
she whispered, as if to herself, " I should not match 
with the matchless." 

" Is it possible ? and are you serious ?" I said, 
painfully alive to her emotion ; " is your happiness 
so entirely involved in " 

"In hi^n. Yes, my kind — my too forbearing 
friend. Evelyn, the once idolized, petted, spoiled — 
the capricious, the heartless coquette — the once proud 
beauty — loves for the first time, with that love which 
is her doom. His presence is my light aud life ; his 
absence my soul's despair. And yet, Mary, not one 
word of love has he ever spoken ; and since that 
ball he has never been here — never written — he so 
exact, so chivalrous in his politeness. Oh, Mary, 
why — why this so sudden change ?" 

She fixed her sad eyes, round which were two dark 
circles — sign of many a sleepless night — imploringly 
on my face. 



172 



THE SISTER OF MERCY. 



" I will fiad out for jou," I said ; *'you shall at 
least be spared the pangs of suspense." 

"Ah, me !" she murmured, " men little know the 
hours of patient watching and waiting we poor wo- 
men suffer. 'Tis not to be wondered at we make 
the best Christians — ' the patience of hope^ I un- 
derstand it now." 

I took a coupe^ and in less than an hour I had re- 
tm-ned, for D'Arcy resided in the Rue Castiglione. 

Evelyn, still seated where I had left her, sprang 
to her feet, almost shrieking as she saw my solemn 
countenance, " Bad news ! Oh, tell me the worst !" 

"Mr. D'Arcy," I said, "is iU." 

" Not dead ! — not dead ! Oh, speak !" 

" No ; but seriously ill." 

" I will go to him, instantly." 

" Stay, Evelyn," I said, with authority, " he is un- 
worthy of your love." 

She looked at me in blank astonishment. 

" The fever he has, he caught in the low neigh- 
borhoods, and among the disreputable company 
he frequents." 

She laughed hysterically. 

"What!" she said, "the noble D'Arcy — the re- 
fined, the spiritual. Never, by my hopes of Heaven. 
Go, Mary, would you have me hate you ? Look 



THE SISTER OF MERCY. 



173 



you, he is true and pure as the blessed sunlight. — 
Unhand me, I say ; let me fly to him." 

" Oh ! Evelyn, pause, I implore you. What will 
the world say ?" 

" What it likes. Ah ! is it my Mary who would 
dissuade me from tending a fellow-creature in sick- 
ness — a stranger in a strange land ? No ; she will 
rather assist me, and when exhausted nature re- 
quires that the ' sister of mercy ' should take food 
and rest, my Mary will then relieve her at her post." 

Evelyn passed her arm caressingly around me. 
How could I find it in my heart to refuse her ? and 
so our compact was sealed with a kiss. 

It was time the sick man should have a tender 
and loving nurse ; he was suffering from a low, ner- 
vous fever, with typhoid symptoms superadded. — 
Three physicians were in constant attendance. All 
light in the chamber was strictly forbidden, and the 
least noise caused the patient to start as at the fir- 
ing of a park of artillery. Evelyn's first act was to 
dismiss the coarse, fat nurse, who sat dozing and oc- 
casionally snoring in a comfortable easy-chair.— 
Taking the authority of a sister upon her, she paid 
the woman, and stated her firm intention of remain- 
ing the sole attendant at the bedside of her brother. 
Then gently and softly she moved about, robed in a 
2>eignoir of delicate white muslin, putting all in or- 



174 



THE SISTER OF MERCY. 



der. The sick man — half delirious — seemed to feel 
there was some change, for he murmured tenderly, 
" what angel is here ?" Evelyn gently laid her cool 
hand on the fevered brow, but spoke not, for to do 
so was forbidden. The touch soothed and quieted 
the sufferer, and the physicians, when they came, 
found a slight change for the better. For six days 
and nights did Evelyn and myself watch alternate- 
ly by the bedside of poor D'Arcy, who in his mo- 
ments of wandering, seemed earnestly engaged in 
conversation with a spirit he named as Lilian, his 
affianced bride. As if in rej^ly, he would say : 

" I will obey you implicitly. Lilian, my sweet 
sister, bride no longer, since you so will it. I have 
now another guardian angel near. Say you so? and 
you warn me not to pass hy my destiny. You cau- 
tion me against such blindness, and you leave me." 

Much more was said, but so incoherent we could 
not gather the sense — and then, fatigued, the pa- 
tient would dose off into the restless, unrefreshuig 
sleep of fever. At length we could no longer de- 
ceive ourselves ; the poor sufferer grew weaker and 
weaker, till at last the doctors unanimously shook 
their learned heads, and augured the worst. The 
principal physician, taking me apart, said, 

" My dear lady, break it gently to the poor sis- 



THE SISTER OF MERCY. 



175 



ter — for in tvvelve hours her brother will be no 
more." 

Evelyn, pale as marble, and almost as cold and 
motionless, waved me off. She had heard too well 
the ominous whisper. For twelve long hours, her 
arm tenderly sustained the head of the dying man, 
the other hand ceaselessly engager] in the last pain- 
ful offices of affection. Utterly forgetful of self — 
even of her overwhelming sorrow — her one thought 
was how she could best soften the parting agony. Ev- 
ery moment she listened for the almost imperceptible 
breathing, each instant feeling for the beating of 
the heart. But the pulse waxed fainter and fainter, 
the death-rattle came to the throat — a long, long 
sigh — another, and another — then the heart ceased 
to beat, and all was over. 

The doctors ascertained the fact of the decease, and 
were too glad to leave the house of mourning. Eve- 
lyn, tearless, desolate, despairing, sank on her knees 
beside the couch — she helievel in prayers for the 
dead. I knelt beside her, and our united supplica- 
tions ascended to the throne of the Most High. At 
length I arose, and would have led the afflicted one 
away. She resisted. I will not leave him," she said. 
Finding it useless endeavoring to change her re- 
solve, I went home, and returned later, determined 
not to give up the point. Eeluctantly the mourner 



176 



THE SISTER OF MEKCY. 



consented to take some repose. She arose from her 
knees ; then suddenly, and as one frantic, she flung 
herself upon the lifeless corpse. 

" I will not leave thee, Philip — mine in death, if 
not in life." 

She clung to the helpless clay, her warm, fresh 
mouth pressing the ice-cold lips, her pure breath 
entering the paralyzed lungs. The passionate heart, 
full of the magnetism of life, beating against that 
stone-cold breast — now, alas ! still for ever. 

" Philip," she cried again and again, straining 
the dear form closer and yet closer in her fond em- 
brace, " come back to your Evelyn," when, O won- 
drous to relate ! the spirit just about to take wing, 
and emerge from the dark terrors of the " valley of 
the shadow of death," or intermediate state, into 
life and immortality, paused, — wavered — looked 
back lovingly, and returned to the body. A Di- 
vine influx descending through that tender woman's 
bosom, established a human sympathy once more 
with the apparently lifeless frame, and D'Arcy 
again breathed the breath of life. 



CHAPTEK XXI. 



ELLA. 



Evelyn had saved Philip D'Arcy's life, but al- 
most at the cost of her own. The reaction from 
intense despair to the excess of joy, was too much 
for her, and to a deathlike swoon succeeded the 
frantic ravings of delirium. The fever of her be- 
loved had fastened its cruel fangs in her very vitals. 
During weeks and weeks of suffering, I scarcely 
left the bedside of my poor friend — for ever and for 
ever did she utter the name of Philip, her true 
mate, her celestial bridegroom, her first, last, her 
only love. Unwilling that other ears should disco- 
ver the secret of her heart, I permitted none to ap- 
proach, cautiously concealing from Ella the dan- 
gerous nature of the malady, lest the dear girl 
should insist on sharing my anxious watch, and 
thus be made aware of her mother's weakness — a 
weakness which, while pitying, I deeply deplored. 
Poor D'Arcy too, I remembered, must not be left 



178 



ELLA. 



alone with strangers. At my desire, therefore, 
Ella, accompanied by an elderly female attendant, 
supplied her mother's place in the sick room of 
him who still required the utmost attention and so- 
licitude. 

Many days elapsed ere the patient was pro- 
nounced out of danger, and permitted to speak. 

" Sir, I am both surprised and happy to be able 
to announce your convalescence ; and it is to the 
devoted attention of this young girl," designating 
Ella, " that, under divine Providence, you owe your 
life." So spake the man of science, not aware of the 
whole truth, as w-e know it, and he spake as he 
thought. The sick man turned a grateful look on 
his young nurse, gently raising the hand she had 
placed in his to his pallid lips. 

Many a time, as he daily grew stronger, would 
D'Arcy desire to ask after Evelyn ; and yet, simple 
as was the question, it appeared as if his tongue 
refused to fram^ it. Strange that she never in- 
quires — never comes," he mused. " Were not Ella 
so calm, I should say her mother, too, must be ill." 
At length, he determined to solve his doubts — . 
" Your dear mother, my child, and Miss Mildmay — 
tell me of them ?" 

" Poor mama," replied the young girl, " is not 
very well." 



KLLA. 



179 



"!N"othing serious, I trust." 

" Oh ! no. She caught cold, I believe, the last 
time she was out." 

D'Arcy siglied — in his heart he maligned poor 
Evelyn as a true woman of the world, a fashionable 
coquette, heartless as she was beautiful; and think- 
ing thus, he unconsciously watched the graceful, 
half-childish form of Ella, as she noiselessly stole 
about the room, or bent over her tapestry frame, till 
at length he grew to listen eagerly for her coming 
and regret her parting step. Sweetly would the 
tones of her silvery voice fall on his ear, as, reclining 
on a couch propped up by cushions, he listened 
while she read to him extracts from Byron, Words- 
worth, Tennyson, or some noble bard of his own 
fair land. At such times he would name her, half 
in jest, " Elaine, the lily maid," who died of love 
for the brave Sir Launcelot. 

One afternoon, as the invalid drew fresh life from 
the warm beams of the mid-day sun, his young com- 
panion, seated on a low stool at his feet, her fairy 
tiiigers busily engaged with her tapestry, D'Arcy 
said — "Sweet Elaine! shall we read, or shall we 
have a little quiet talk together ?" 

With a sweet smile, she answered, still diligently 
plying her needle : " We will converse to-day — for 



180 



ELLA. 



I must finish this cushion, for mama by the time she 
is quite well." 

But D'Arcy appeared embarrassed ; and, after a 
pause of some minutes' duration, he probably said 
just the thing he had never intended to utter : 

" My child, could you love ?" 

"Wonderingly, Ella raised her soft blue eyes, and 
fixed them on the face of the speaker — " Why, cer- 
tainly," she said ; " I dearly, dearly love my 
mother." 

" And none other?" 

" Oh ! yes, indeed — Mary — our kind, good Mary, 
for example. You, too, of course," blushing 
slightly — " you are now another dear friend." 

" But, Ella, listen. Could you, for instance, love 
as — as — Elaine loved Launcelot ?" 

She paused. " I have never thought of that — at 
any rate, if he had not loved me, I should never 
have been so silly as to care for him." 

" Ko — ^but supposing he had loved you ?" 

" Well, in that case, perhaps I might ; but, oh ! 
Mr. D'Arcy, never, even then, nearly so much as I 
love my own dear mother. Ah ! you do not know 
how I love her," and the tears started to the dear 
child's clear eyes ; " but," she hesitated, I do 
wish to say something to you — you must never, 
never mention it, though. Perhaps it is foolish to 



ELLA. 



181 



tell you — but, I should so like my mother to 
marry." 

It now was D'Arcy's turn to feel his cheek all 
flame. " It is, doubtless," he forced himself to re- 
ply, " by your mother's own desire that she remains 
single." 

" I do not know," mused Ella — she was very 
nearly married once ; but it (I mean the marriage) 
was postponed, in consequence of her not being 
willing to change her religion. I, however, know 
she loved the , but I will not name him." 

D'Arcy was now pale as death. " Perhaps," said 
he, " all may at present be at an end." 

Oh ! no, indeed," exclaimed Ella, eagerly ; 
" they still correspond, I know — and he is so hand- 
some, so good, so fond of her — she would be very, 
very happy — eZo, Mr. D'Arcy, persuade mama to 
become a Catholic !" 

He seemed lost in thought. " Sweet Elaine," at 
length he said, " rest assured, that, to further your 
mother's welfare and your own, I would gladly 
sacrifice my life. I will take an early occasion of 
conversing with her on this subject." 

Meanwhile, my poor invalid lay turning and 
tossing on her fevered couch, and ever and forever 
would she thus make moan: "Philip, my own true 
mate — Philip, bridegroom of my soul — why so 



182 



ELLA. 



cruel?" Tlien, in her wild delirium, would she 
sing snatches of melody, and her voice was strong, 
clear, and of unearthly sweetness. Often would she 
repeat those exquisite lines of Shelly ; 

" The nightingale's complaint, it dies upon her heart, 
As I must on thine, beloved as thou art— 
A spirit hath led me to thee, love." 

" Yes, Lilian — thy loved Lilian, hath given thee 
to Evelyn — Reginald, too, looks upon me with ten- 
der and forgiving eyes. See ! they descend toge- 
ther to bless our union — they bear a wreath of 
orange blossoms and myrtle — they place it on my 
burning brow — it is cool— cool — delicious ! Oh ! 
what fragrance! It soothes my brain — it recalls 
my senses— the dews of Paradise fall like a shower 
of pearls over my tangled hair. Ah ! see — they 
place a white moss rose on my bosom — it stills the 
throbbings of my heart— it deadens the' pain! 
Thanks, blessed, loving angels! Pray for poor 
Evelyn. She is saved !" 

As slie uttered these words an exquisite perfume 
filled the sick chamber, and I Paw, as it were, a 
halo of white light around the head of the poor suf- 
ferer, and fancied I beheld a hand, white as alabas- 
ter, holding a rose to her breast. A moment, and 
the light faded, or rather, gave place to the sickly 



ELLA. 



183 



rajs of the early dawn, as they penetrated the 
closed blinds and shone on the pale form of the pa- 
tient. Was this a vision or a mere disorder of the 
fancy ? I know not ; but I do know that from that 
moment the fever left her ; that she slept profoundly 
for twelve consecutive hours ; and on awakening 
was declared convalescent. 



CHAPTER XXII. 



THE PROPOSAL. 

It was the sixteeDth of August ; the heat had 
been intense, but toward evening a cool air stirred 
the leaves of the trees, and entered the open win- 
dow of the pretty boudoir in the Avenue Gabriel. 
That day our beloved invalid quitted her room for 
the first time. Languidly reclining on an elegant 
couch of pale green silk, her sweet face half 
buried in the rich lace which ornamented the downy 
cushions, she enjoyed the voluptuous sensations in- 
cident to the convalescent state. Ella had decked 
the apartment with flowers, to fete the recovery of 
her dear mother, and a silver tea-service, standing 
on a small table near, plentifully supplied with 
cakes and fruit, added greatly to the home comfort 
of the scene. 

Evelyn's illness, if it had somewhat detracted 



THE PE0P08AL. 



185 



from the brilliancy of her beauty, had replaced it 
with an air of delicacy and refinement, which, per- 
haps, suited still better the classic outline of her 
features. Her complexion, transparent as porce- 
lain, was now colorless, if we except a bright spot 
on either cheek — the result of emotion rather than 
of returning health. Her soft, hazel eyes seemed 
humid with a tender languor which gave to them a 
remarkable charm. The warm pulses of renewed 
life and hope seemed to pervade each nerve and 
fibre of her being. I could scarcely keep my eyes 
from looking at her, while Ella, echoing my thoughts, 
exclaimed : 

" Dearest mama, how very beautiful you look this 
evening !" 

The mother pensively smiled, passed her hand 
through her daughter's hair, and then was again 
lost in thought. 

But let us now permit her to speak for herself. 

MORE LEAVES. 

August 16^A. — It is nearly three whole months 
since 1 have seen him, and oh ! wliat events since 
then. Both have been sick nigh unto death ; both 
have received revelations from the angel world, and 
I shall see him this day, and he said to Ella he would 



186 



THE PROPOSAL. 



speak with me alone. Ah ! the cruel moments 
lengthen themselves into hours to retard his coming. 
And if, after all, he should fail. But that is not 
possible, has he not given his word ! 

11th. — I have made a violent effort to collect my 
scattered senses, for I would fain write the occur- 
rences of that night. Though the day appeared as 
if it would never end, yet, as evening approached, 
I almost dreaded to meet him. The thought that I 
had dared to clasp him, living, in m}^ arms — that 
unasked, unsought, my lips had been pressed to his, 
made me timid as a young girl. This remembrance, 
even now, dyes my cheek with crimson. Oh ! were 
he then conscious of all, how could I ever, ever, 
again lift my eves to his ; how could I ever support 
his glance of withering scorn. As these reflections 
passed through my brain, 1 half arose. "I will re- 
tire to my room," I thought, and leave Mary and 
Ella to receive him." Just then there was a rino^, 
and a well-known step was heard in the antecham- 
ber. Philip D'Arcy entered, and in the delirious 
joy of his presence, I forgot all but that he was 
here once more — restored to life, to health, to hope,' 
to love. He appeared surprised to find me still an 
invalid, for as he took my hand and pressed it with 
that soft, thrilling pressure which may mean friend- 



THE PROPOSAL. 



187 



ship, or so much more, he murmured words of 
sorrow and sympathy, though I scarcely caught 
their meaning. Then seating himself, as Mary- 
served the tea, he addressed some polite and com- 
monplace observations to her and Ella. I could 
now satisfy the hunger of my soul by dwelling on 
that noble countenance, the light of which had so 
long been hidden from my weary eyes. 

After long silence, I said suddenly, 

"Pray, Mr. D'Arcy, tell me how did you man- 
age to catch that fever ?" 

The formality of this address sounded strangely 
even to my own ears, and almost as if another had 
spoken. 

Philip smiled his old smile, and replied that he 
would prefer this should remain a secret. Perceiv- 
ing a somewhat mocking expression on Mary's lips, 
I exclaimed with petulance, 

''But I insist on your telling me — I will know." 

Turning upon me a calm and penetrating, though 
rather surprised look, he said quietly, 

" I have the gift of healing by mesmeric passes ; 
over fatigued by too close attendance on a patient 
suffering from a virulent attack of morbid typhus, 
I saved him, but succumbed to the malady myself." 

I cast a triumphant glance at Mary. It was with 
diflSiculty I could resist the impulse I felt to throw 



188 



THE PROPOSAL. 



myself at his feet, almost in adoration. Mary then 
happily observed, in her usual calm and philosophic 
style, that " magnetism appeared to be the grand 
motive power of organic nature." 

" Say rather," replied D'Arcy, " of the entire 
visible universe. Do we not know that the poles 
of the earth are magnetic ? Is there not electro- 
magnetism in the sun's beams ? And in fact I have 
very little doubt that the power named gravita- 
tion by Newton, is neither more nor less than mag- 
netic attraction." 

" That," replied Mar}^, " is both a philosophic 
and a beautiful idea." 

"I think," rejoined he, "it at least bears the 
impress of truth, and as science progresses, who 
knows whether it will not be ascertained that sim- 
ilar internal laws govern these apparently distinct 
forces ? All true science tends towards unity, as 
all religious point to the one true God." 

So passed the time, till tea being over, Mary with 
Ella proposed taking a stroll — the latter laughingly 
saying that the two invalids might amuse each other 
by expatiating on the delights of panada, tisane, 
and chicken broth. 

In the sweet hour of twilight, alone once 
more with him, and awaiting, as it were, the 
tiat of my destiny, is it wonderful tliat pale with 
emotion I lay almost as one inanimate? 



THE PROPOSAL. 



189 



" I fear" — and the tones of his voice were low 
and tender as he bent over me — " I fear me much 
you still suffer . " 

^' I have been ill, very ill," I murmured, scarcely 
daring to trust my voice. 

" Can you listen," he almost whispered, " if I speak 
to you on a subject important to me, interesting to 
you — to both " 

I signed assent, for I was powerless now to artic- 
ulate one word. 

"During my illness," he proceeded, "I was in 
constant communication with the spirit of my Lilian. 
Much advice she gave, and much she cautioned as 
to my future ; finally, she informed me that it was 
not her destiny to become my bride through eter- 
nity, but that there was one then near who would 
save my life — one whose tender bosom would ever 
pulsate in unison with my own, whose character of 
mind and heart was, from contrast, fitted alone to 
complete mine — * but,' she added, solemnly, * make 
not shipwreck of your happiness. Pass not ly 
yourfate.^ " 

He paused. I could make no reply. My blood 
was coursing rapidly and tumultuously through ev- 
ery vein and artery. My voice, passion-choked, could 
only express itself in sighs. My soul seemed bathed 
in an ocean of hitherto unknown delights. I 



190 



THE PROPOSAL. 



scarcely dared breathe, lest I should lose a word, 
a tone. A few moments more of suspense would 
have killed me. Would that it had been so ! 

Soft as the murmur of a summer brook, thrilling 
as the song of birds, tender as the cooing of the 
wood-pigeon, did that loved voice again steal upon 
my ear. "At one time," it said, " methought I was 
dying. I lost all physical sensation. My heart felt 
like a stone in the midst of my body. My breath- 
ing seemed to be carried on through the spiritual 
lungs alone — when, suddenly, as if from afar, I 
heard, as it were, a faint cry — a cry of distress : 
'Philip, mine own, do not die,' it said, 'Keturn — 
oh ! return.' (I covered my burning face with my 
hands, as he continued.) 

" At this time I felt on my lips a warm breath — a 
human heart appeared to touch my own — then all 
was dark, dark. On opening my eyes, I beheld, as 
an angel of light, standing at my bedside, your 
sweet child Ella." 

As if one had taken a sledge-hammer, and struck 
with violence a blow on tlie very centre of my 
heart — such was the shock I experienced. Stunned, 
unconscious, I heard no more. Had it not been 
thus mercifully arranged, I had not stifled a burst 
of passionate anguish. When I in some measure re- 
covered my senses a mortal despair seized upon me. 



THE PROPOSAL. 



191 



The shades of evening had now closed in, my 
soul too was all gloom. Still those soft accents fell 
on my ear, till at length I distinguished the words, 
" Have I then your consent?" In vain would I have 
replied, but my throat was parched — my tongue par- 
alyzed. I could only hend my head in token of as- 
sent. On one other subject would I also for a mo- 
ment speak," and then the beloved voice trembled 
and faltered, " Pardon me, but your happiness is 
dear — dearer to me than my own. I understand," 
— he hesitated, and then spoke rapidly, as though 
he would be rid of an ungrateful task, I hear, there 
is one who adores you — one who has haply not 
loved in vain — one, in fine, who even now stands 
toward you in the light of an affianced husband. 
May I express the hope that this union will no lon- 
ger be delayed, and that bliss such as rarely falls to 
mortal lot may he yours, and his for your sweet 
sake ?" Philip raised my hand to his lips. " Good 
God ?" he cried, " you are ill — your hand is cold 
and clammy as in death." 

I tried to smile. Happily the darkness covered 
the ghastly and futile attempt. By a supreme ef- 
fort I rose to my feet. 

" I am well. I thank you," I gasped, " for — for 
your good wishes. I shall" — and I pressed both 
hands on my heart to still its wild beatings, now 



192 



THE PROPOSAL. 



and forever, if I could — " I shall marry soon — very 
soon." 

Staggering to tlie door, I met Mary and Ella. — 
Motioning the latter toward the boudoir, and cling- 
ing almost fainting to Mary, who caught me in her 
arms, I was half-led, half-carried to my bed-chamber 
— where, left alone with my grief, my despair, my 
lost love, my wounded woman's pride — worn out 
by that " hope deceived which maketh the heart 
sick," exhausted nature could no more, and sleep at 
length in pity steeped my weary soul in forgetful- 
ness. 



CHAPTER XXIII. 

LOVED IN VAIN. 

Is there one among us wTio has not, at some pe- 
riod of his life, experienced the dull pain which, on 
the morrow of a great grief, ever returns to us with 
the fii'st dawn of consciousness ? Have we not 
hated the very light of another day ? Have not all 
familiar objects lost their charm for us ? How sens- 
itively, too, have we shrunk from contact with 
the domestics — aye, even from the loved faces of 
the home circle ! Alone would we entertain our sor- 
row. We are in love with her, and from her we will 
not be parted. This is the very luxury of grief. Joy 
may be a social passion ; but surely the converse is 
true of profound misery. 

Our unhappy heroine dared not thus indulge her 
sorrow — she must up and be doing. The poisoned ar- 
row which had pierced her bosom must there remain, 
an agonized but concealed torture. Ah ! m^ — those 
pangs for which the world would have no pity, and 

9 



LOVED IN VAIN. 



which, therefore, we irnist liide under the semblance 
of sniiles, are ever the most poignant. 

Like lawful love, legitimate grief may be deep ; 
but neither are of that stormy nature which shakes 
the soul to its foundation, and blights the whole 
existence. So Evelyn arose, mechanically, and suf- 
fered her maid to attire her ; then, causing the 
blinds to be closed, the better to conceal her hag- 
gard countenance, she bade the attendant leave the 
room. 

To the question — "Will madame take breakfast 
now?" her mistress replied, that she merely re- 
quired a cup of tea ; and added, that, having impor- 
tant letters to write, she must not for the present be 
disturbed. Then flinging herself into a chair, and 
covering her aching eyes with her hand, she endea- 
vored to collect her thoughts. Just then, she felt a 
soft warm touch — when, starting, she turned and per- 
ceived her faithful dog, the gift of di Balzano. He 
had placed his paw in her hand, and he looked into 
her face with a fond, wistful glance, which seemed 
to say, " Dear mistress, you are sick or sad ; but 
your poor dog loves you, and will never forsake 
you." And Evelyn comprehended, and she flung 
her arm about the shaggy neck of her favorite, and 
the large scalding drops fell on his honest head. " Poor 
Dashey," she said — poor fellow !" — and tears, 



LOVED IN VATN. 



195 



too, almost human, stood in the eyes of the loving 
animal. Nay, mock not, gentle reader — for, as the 
author has observed, so she writes. She once had a 
dog whom she has seen weep more than once ; and 
when the poor fond creature died, she mourned for 
her (for she was of the softer sex) as for a friend. 

And Evelyn went to her writing-table — her re- 
solve was taken. " Good, kind Balzano," she said ; 
" how he loved me — unworthy as I am ! I will no 
longer delay writing to him and she penned the 
letter we here transcribe : 

A Sua Excellenza, il Duca di Balzano, 

Palazzo Balzano. Naples, August — , 18 — . 

Dear Friend, — Pardon my prolonged silence, 
and apparent neglect. I have been ill — danger- 
ously ill — for many weeks. Before that, I had 
come to no decision on the subject of your last let- 
ter. I cannot be a Catholic; but, if you can pro- 
cure a dispense from the Pope, I will now be your 
wife. Can you forgive my caprice ! At last, I 
understand how cruelly you must have suffered 
through me. Henceforth, it will be the sole aim of 
my life to compensate for past folly, by future devo- 
tion to youi happiness. Write soon, and say when 
we may expect you here. Ella you will find grown 
out of all knowledge. You were ever a fiivorite 



196 



LOVED IN VAIN. 



with her. I cannot write more. 1 am still very- 
weak — but, as ever, 

Your affectionate friend, 

Evelyn. 

The letter was just concluded, when a gentle tap 
at the door caused the writer's heart to give one 
bound, and then almost to cease beating. Evelyn 
withdrew the bolt — for she must speak with Ella. 
The young girl threw herself on her mother's neck ; 
but that mother's kiss was cold, for the first time — 
and, as she felt the soft contact of her child's pure 
lips, almost a shudder passed through her frame. 
Ah ! wherefore did the shadow of that man come 
between those two ! And Ella knelt at her mother's 
feet, an unconscious rival ; and as the latter, faint 
and sick at heart, leaned back in her fauteuil, she 
held the poor burning hand in her cool fresh palm, 
and poured out before her mother all the thoughts 
and feelings of her innocent, loving heart. She 
told how D'Arcy loved her, how kind he was, 
how clever — far too wise and clever for her, how 
could he think of such a child ? True, Lilian had 
told him, or it could never have been ; but her 
dear mother must teach her to become wise, wor- 
thy of him, that he may not think her foolish— 
''But oh! my own, own mama, I never, never 



LOVED IN VAIN. 



197 



will marry and leave you all alone. T told Mr. 
D'Arcy so. ITever till you are a duchess, you 
know," kissing her hand, ^' for though I like him 
very much, I never shall love him like my own 
sweet mother ; how could I ! " 

Alas ! poor Evelyn ; bitterly did thy heart re- 
proach thee that thou couldst not feel as the tender 
maiden at thy feet — that thy now guilty love still 
glowed in thy tortured heart, as in a furnace, to the 
exclusion of each gentle and more holy sentiment. 
Unhappy mother ! she could scarce support the pre- 
sence of her child now. 

"Dear girl," she said, with an effort, "be hap- 
py. I have written to accept M. di Balzano." — 
Ella made a movement of delight. " Bless you, 
darling, now leave me. Take that letter and see 
that it is sent. I would be alonCj my head aches 
terribly." A true woman''s excuse, but in our he- 
roine's case not a fictitious one. 

Once more left to her own sad thoughts, Evelyn 
endeavored to realize her painful position. It was 
necessary to meet D'Arcy ; to show him that she 
consented, nay, that she was even happy, in the 
idea of his union witli another, and that other her 
own daughter. "Alas !" she repeated to herself, 



198 



LOVED IN VAIN. 



" To love thee dumbly, nor by look or word 
To break the silence set upon my soul, 
To crush the voice that struggles to be heard, 
To gaze unmoved on the forbidden goal. 

" To sit and look into thine eyes, and yearn 
To tell thee all my closely hoarded thought. 
And still to know that I must calmly learn 
To meet thy gaze, and yet to utter naught 

" To know there is no hope ; hourly to feel 
That Destiny forbids a word, a breath ; 
This bitter fate is mine, until the seal 
Is broken, by the welcome hand of death." 

And she accepted her fate, and she made the he- 
roic resolve — cost what it might, she would see 
D'Arcy this evening, if but for five minutes. She 
would school her eyes to gaze calmly on those 
still beloved features. She would force herself to 
support the sight of those lover-like attentions which 
were not, which never could be for her. She would 
even be happy in the mutual happiness of those two 
dear ones. Did she, perchance, miscalculate her 
strength ? For the present, at least, that trial was 
spared her. Just about the hour D'Arcy's visit was 
expected, a telegraphic despatch arrived from Hav- 
re. It was handed to me by Evelyn to open and 
read. It ran thus : 



LOVED IN VAIN. 



199 



" Pressing public business recalls me to America. 
I sail to-night. Will write from Cowes. 

"Philip D'Arcy." 

A sigh of inexpressible relief burst from Evelyn's 
overcharged bosom, as she murmured involuntarily, 
"Thank God." Last evening, at the same hour 
had an event so unexpected occurred, how different 
would have been her feelings ! Truly " we know 
not what a day may bring forth." 



a 



CHAPTEK XXIV. 

COREESPONDENCE. 

Two days ai)d the promised letter arrived, the 
very superscription and seal proclaiming it the pro- 
duction of no ordinary writer. Opening the missive 
you at once remark the clear, decided, manly char- 
acters. No dashes, (impotent attempts of weakness 
to convey the idea of force), deface the spotless 
page ; the style terse, and at the same time elegant, 
reveals the scholar and the gentleman. The signa- 
ture, at once bold and distinct, has the characteristic 
finish, rather than flourish, which at once individu- 
alizes the writer. Truly there is more in an auto- 
graph than meets the eye of the casual observer. 
Give me a letter and I will undertake to designate 
the salient points in the character and disposition of 
its author. The epistle in question was addressed 
to Evelyn, and simply stated that public affairs hav- 
ing assumed a very serious aspect, he (D'Arcy), had 
received a mandate from an official personage, re- 



CORRESPONDENCE. 



201 



questing his immediate presence at Washington, 
and offering him a responsible post under govern- 
ment. That in view of the present sad political dif- 
ficulties which threatened his beloved country, he 
thought it his duty to tender his poor services to the 
nation. Though his affections, he added, were dear 
— most dear to him — still he felt that honor and 
duty must take precedence even of love. In 
conclusion he expressed the hope of a speedy re- 
turn to Europe, but added that as his sweet Ella's 
extreme youth rendered an immediate marriage un- 
advisable, he would wait with patience, convinced 
that every additional moment passed with her dear 
and valued mother, would be fraught with inestima- 
ble advantage to his young bride. Leaving her, there- 
fore, to Evelyn, as a sacred charge, he invoked on 
the beloved heads of both a farewell blessing. 

Such was D'Arcy's first letter. Single hearted, 
true aud noble, he framed no polite excuses for ap- 
parent neglect in not having called to bid them a 
personal adieu. He knew they would understand 
him, and he was right. It now appeared to me that 
there was a marked change in Evelyn. All her 
passionate love for D'Arcy seemed to have merged 
into a fond desire to educate Ella for him. She 
accepted the holy task he had confided to her, and 
made a firm resolve to devote her faculties wholly 

9* 



202 



CORRESPONDENCE. 



to the furtherance of his wishes. Thus, no longer 
living as before utterly in the self-hood, but rather 
seeking the good of others, she could not fail to 
brino: a hlessino- on herself. 

We passed the remainder of the summer at Passy, 
near Paris, where Rossini has a beautiful villa, and 
where, others of our friends were also residing. Ex- 
pecting shortly the arrival of Balzano, we had 
thought it inexpedient to journey further. But 
weeks were added to days, and months to weeks, 
and yet no letter came ^' He will doubtless come 
without writing," we said, and so saying, daily 
looked we for his advent. Our frequent talk now 
was of beloved Italy, and of the happy days we had 
passed beneath the placid azure of its heavens. 

" Ah ! me," sighed my friend, " how rarely do 
we value the present till it has faded into the past I 
We spend our lives in wild hopes of the future — in 
sad regrets for bygone days. Folly — to the present 
with its pleasures and pains may we alone lay claim as 
our own. Do you remember, Mary, the fairy-likey^^g 
given by the Conte de Syracuse, in that exquisitely 
lovely mountain glade at Castellamare, so shadowy 
with graceful trees, through whose branches here 
and there, a bright glint of sunshine gilded the rocks, 
dancing over the feathery fern, and causing the rivulet 
to sparkle with a clearer crystal ? how sapphire blue 



CORRESPONDENCE. 



203 



lay the Mediterranean, viewed through the intersti- 
ces of the varied foliage. It was truly a scene of 
enchantment, and reminded me of those days chron- 
icled by Boccaccio when six gallant cavaliers with 
their noble dames retired together to the fair gar- 
dens of /Sans Souci that they might avoid the in 
fection of the pestilence then desolating the doomed 
city of Florence." 

" Yes," said I, and how picturesque the table 
prepared as it were, by the genii of the forest ; how 
brilliant the dresses of the ladies, and though last, 
not least, how cool and refreshing the well iced 
champagne ! And, after the collation, how charm- 
ingly wild our dance on the greensward to the stir- 
ring music of the invisible orchestra deeply hidden 
in the woods." 

" And the Prince, too, how wickedly and mali- 
ciously he insisted on the stout old Baroness de R 

being his partner in the polka, till she looked ac- 
tually purple, so that we feared every minute her 
desire to oblige H. R. H. would cause her to faint 
with fatigue. Oh ! Mary, those were merry days ! 
The silver moon arose to look upon bur sport, and 
the fire-flies came and danced with us." 

" And you remember the pretty compliment the 
Prince paid you, Evelyn, about the pearls? You 
had your hair braided, and bonnet trimmed with 



204 



CORRESPONDENCE. 



these ornaments — bracelets and necklace to match. 
His Eoyal Highness said ^ Pearls in the hair, on the 
neck, and the rounded white arms, but the finest 
pearls of all are witliin the rosy lips.' " 

" Ah ! Mary, remind me not of my days of vanity 
and folly. Have I not sufficiently sufi'ered for my 
poor triumphs ? Had I been less handsome I might 
have been a better and a happier woman." 

" You may yet be both, dearest , it is not too late." 

Thus time passed, and we returned to Paris, no 
reply having as yet arrived from ^^'aples, so we be- 
gan to think tliat, (as is frequently the case there), 
Evelyn's letter might have miscarried. She was 
just preparing to write again, when one morning 
Ella entered, frantic with delight. 

" A letter ! a letter !" she exclaimed, " from dear 
Italy. What will mama give for it ? a kiss — no, 
two, at least three — there," and Evelyn took it, and 
broke the seal. It was in di Balzano's fine Italian 
hand, and as follows : 

Naples, Nov. — , 18—. 

My dear Mrs. Travers : I feel much distressed and 
mortified in that I fear you must have considered 
me ungrateftd, and wanting in politeness ; but you 
will, I trust, now pardon the silence I have been 
compelled to observe towards you. It is time I 



CORRESPONDENCE. 



205 



should inform you that I am already married. Such, 
however, being the case, remember it is yourself 
who have constrained me to this step, by your in- 
decision. But we will no longer speak of the past. 
May I hope that being made aware of my marriage 
will not prevent your still preserving for me that 
same friendship you have ever accorded to one who 
will never cease most deeply to appreciate it. For 
my part, I should be truly delighted once more to 
meet you, because I still feel for you a profound 
affection ; having once loved you intensely and 
passionately. I am thankful that your health is re- 
established. Saluting you a thousand times, I am 
as ever your true friend, 

Giovanni, Due a di Balzano, 

" See, Mary," said poor Evelyn, handing me the 
letter with a melancholy smile, " it is my sad doom 
to lose all I love, all that have loved me !" 

We heard later that Balzano's marriage had 
originated first, as is the custom in Italy, in the 
wishes of the respective families of the young peo- 
ple, the duke being averse to the connexion. Bal- 
zano was thus necessarily much thrown into the 
society of the young lady, who became deeply at- 
tached to him — so much so, that perceiving his in- 
difference she took it so seriously to heart that 



206 



COEEESPONDENCE. 



consumption threatened. Balzano, ever compas- 
sionate and unselfish, pitied the girl, and not 
having for months had any tidings of his former be- 
trothed, consented at last to the wishes of his friends, 
backed by the advice of the priests. A marriage 
was arranged ; singularly enough, it was not till his 
return from church, on the morning of the wedding, 
that Evelyn's letter of acceptance was placed in his 
hands — thus may the three months' silence, on his 
part, he accounted for. 

Meanwhile, D'Arcy's letters came almost every 
mail ; they were partly to Evelyn, partly to Ella ; 
and were answered conjointly by both. Ella would 
have deferred the marriage indefinitely, in conse- 
quence of the bad news from ISTaples ; but her 
mother would not suffer the subject even to be al- 
luded to : " My child," she said, " let us leave the 
future to Providence, patiently awaiting the accom- 
plishment of our destiny." 




CHAPTER XXV. 



THE BARONET. 



Among the crowd of English sojourning in Paris 
this winter, there was an old acquaintance of ours 
— a certain Sir Percy Montgomery, Bart., late 

M. P. for shire. Some six years ago, wben 

in London, Sir Percy had visited Evelyn, and we 
had dined occasionally at his house in Grosvenor 
Street. Indeed, the Baronet had been at that time 
a warm though unsuccessful admirer of our heroine. 
Sir Percy was, in appearance, a perfect " John 
Bull" — that is to say, he possessed a countenance 
rubicund and somewhat flat, with no very naarked 
features — figure stout — burly — broad-shouldered — 
thick set, you perceived at a glance that the animal 
nature preponderated in the man ; nevertheless, 
the square and rather massive forehead displayed 
intellect, and the tine teeth, seen to advantage in a 
pleasant jovial smile of not unfrequent occurrence, 
rendered the personal appearance of our friend, if 



208 



THE BARONET. 



somewhat coarse, not altogether unpleasing. Let 
not mj readers, however, imagine that the 
" John-Bull " type is the true type of our country- 
men. They will, on referring to a former cliapter 
of this work, find the portrait of an accomplished 
English gentleman, in our delineation of the young 
and aristocratic Melville. We have there depicted 
elegance, manliness and chivalry, in combination 
with the splendid physical development, only to be 
seen in perfection in the Anglo-Saxon race. But, to 
return. Sir Percy was by no means wanting in 
brains. He had made some sensation in Parlia- 
ment ; and, having had the tact to speak on the 
popular side of each question, his fluency was 
greatly appreciated, and he had thus acquired a 
higher reputation than his (not first rate) talents 
perhaps merited. So the Times wondered when he 
resigned his seat ; and the Herald and other Tory 
papers were open in their rather uncharitable sur- 
mises, as to the motives for so sudden and untimely 
a retreat in the late M. P. 

Sir Percy, having discovered our address at Ga- 
lignani's, lost no time in paying his respects to Eve- 
lyn, and continued his visits from time to time. 
Evelyn soon named him my adorer, and said it would 
not be such a bad match ; the baronet was of a good 
family, and reputed rich, though, as some asserted, 



THE BARONET. 



209 



rich in debts alone. He had, at least, talent, and if 
I did not object to his lack of personal beauty, and 
his fifty years, she added, I might do worse than be- 
come Lady Montgomery. Ever occupied with re- 
ceiving and replying to D'Arcy's frequent letters, 
or in reading, talking and practising with Ella, my 
friend paid but slight attention to a former admirer 
— for whom she had never felt even a passing gleam 
of sympathy — until one day she received from him 
a rather melancholy letter ; making her in some sort 
a confidante, the writer threw out dark hints of 
debts and diflSculties which had exiled him from his 
native land, and adverted mysteriously to envious 
political rivals, who were endeavoring to work his 
ruin, and who had, alas! succeeded in putting a 
present stop to a career which would have other- 
wise shortly ended in the Cabinet. Much changed 
for the better, since her acquaintance with Philip 
D'Arcy, and somewhat hurt and humiliated by the 
unexpected marriage of di Balzano, our heroine 
opened her heart in pity for the baronet's misfor- 
tunes ; had not she, too, suffered from envious 
tongues ? had not slander been to her as " the worm 
which never dieth ?" Cruel, cruel world ! thou art 
indeed a hard master — offend against thy laws — 
break thy one commandment Thou shalt not be 
found out " and thou art utterly without pity, even 



210 



THE BARONET. 



to the exclusion of all repentance ; — cruel, cruel 
world ! And so Evelyn took compassion on the 
injured man, and invited him oftener, and sym- 
pathized with his griefs, and was in every way kind 
to him. Thus did circumstances favor his suit. 

So it came to pass that society at last coupled 
their names together, and Sir Percy himself, mis- 
taking the sentiments of one who no longer had a 
heart to give, made our heroine an offer of his hand 
in a letter which appeared to me to allude to the 
lady's fortune rather than to herself. Evelyn an- 
swered that she would take time to consider the 
proposal, provided Sir Percy could assure her on his 
honor as a gentleman that there was no blemish at- 
tached to his name. This assurance, as may be im- 
agined, the baronet readily gave. My dearest friend 
then spoke to me fully and confidentially ; frank- 
ly confessing that she no longer hoped for hap- 
piness on earth, she at the same time added, tiiat 
she was anxious to marry, hoping that enshrined 
within the sacred precincts of a husband's home, 
and safely sheltered by his protection, she should 
have strength to crush forever from out her heart 
that now guilty passion which still tortured her. 

" I could not," she continued, " again meet 
D'Arcy except as a wife — no. I too much fear my 
own weakness. I should sink to the earth with 



THE BARONET. 



211 



shame, did lie for one moment suspect the state 
of my heart. Besides, I gave him my word I 
would marry, and at any cost I will keep my prom 
ise. Ella, too, dear child, is firmly resolved never 
to wed till she sees her mother, as she imagines, 
happy. Ah ! Mary, does not this man's offer ap- 
pear to you as it does to me, almost as a providen- 
tial occurrence ?" 

" Had you not better at least wait Mr. D'Arcy's 
next letter before you give a definite reply to Sir 
Percy 

"Yes, my friend, I will wait. You are right. 
Dear Mary, my soul is bound up in the future hap- 
piness of Philip and that of my Ella, but like St. 
Paul I may say, " I feel two laws warring within 
me, and these are contrary, the one to the other, so 
that when I would do good, evil is present with 
me." 

And the expected letter came, and it stated that 
war having been declared between the iN'orth and 
South, it was quite impossible for D'Arcy to leave 
his post. ITor could he forsee when he dared hope 
to return to Europe. Could not his beloved friends, 
he suggested, all come over to New York next sum- 
mer ? He would place at their disposition The Re- 
treaty a villa beautifully situated on the banks of 
the Hudson, which it would afford him the greatest 



212 



THE BARONET. 



pleasure if they would occupy as long as the weath- 
er should render such a sojourn agreeable. In con- 
clusion, he reminded Evelyn, that being already 
familiar with the continent of Europe, the difference 
of scenery and the manner of living in the New 
World, would greatly interest her, and that she 
would find in this splendid country much to com- 
pensate her for the fatigues of the voyage. D'Arcy 
had never in any letter alluded either directly or in- 
directly to our heroine's projected marriage, nor had 
he ever known the name of her probable husband, 
the fact alone of her engagement having been com- 
municated to him by the imprudence of Ella. 

That same day Evelyn wrote an acceptance to 
Sir Percy Montgomery. 

And Ella — was she charmed with her mother's 
present prospects ? Truth compels us to declare she 
was not ; nor did she ever cease expressing to me 
her lively regret that her mama was so unwise as to 
prefer the baronet to dear, good, handsome Balzano, 
who was likewise of higher rank, and also of one 
of the oldest families of mediae val Italy. But Ella had 
not, as we know, been made aware of the chain of 
circumstances which led to such a step on her mo- 
ther's part ; so she contented herself by adding, as a 
last consolation, in the only Latin words she knew, 
gustibus non est disputandemy Since, then, 



THE BARONET. 



213 



we cannot " account for tastes," still less may we 
understand the multiform caprices of beauty. This, 
however, I will say, and I appeal to the lovely of my 
own sex who have passed the age of thirty, to cor- 
roborate my assertion : Is there not some period in 
the life of each woman, when she would scarcely 
have thought any one worthy of herself? And is 
there not, likewise, another period, when, in her 
isolation, she might have been tempted to marry 
the first eligible person who asked her ? I fear me 
such is too often the case. 

I will here mention an incident which occurred 
d propos to this marriage : One evening, after din- 
ner, Ella complaining of a headache, her mother, as 
was her wont, made over her a few mesmeric 
passes, in order to quiet the nerves. The young 
girl slept the magnetic sleep, as we perceived by 
the rigidity of the muscles, and other signs under- 
stood by the initiated. As Ella slept, I placed 
in her hand a letter, which had just chanced to ar- 
rive from Sir Percy. Instantly she became con- 
vulsed ; and, crushing the paper in her slender fin- 
gers, she flung it suddenly from her, exclaiming — 

" I will not look at that man ; take him out of my 
sight — he has no heart — no honor." 

The clairvoyante trembled violently, drawing her 
breath with difficulty. We did not dare force her 



214- 



THE BARONET. 



to continue looking upon a disagreeable object; 
for, by such means, epileptic convulsions have been 
occasionally induced in an impressible subject, and 
sometimes even death has been known to supervene. 

So Evelyn took her hand, as she now tranquilly 
slept, saying, "Then tell me, sweet one, shall I be 
happy?" 

An angelic smile broke over the features of the 
lovely entranced, as she exclaimed, " You, dearest 
mother ! Oh, yes — by your talents, your superior 
mind, your beautiful soul — not else," and she 
sighed. 

Evelyn then awoke the young girl, who of couise 
was aware of nothing that had passed during her 
mesmeric sleep ; but her mother mused and won- 
dered, and again I trembled for the future. 



CHAPTER XXYI. 



THREE MONTHS OF MARRIED LIFE, 

Jr was in her second wifehood that Evelyn, Lady 
Montgomery, first set foot on the shores of the 'New 
World. Our voyage across the broad Atlantic had 
been devoid of incident, and untroubled by storm. 
An occasional squall, it is true, would banish us for 
a day to our heaving couches, where, prostrate and 
utterly helpless, we felt as if our head, detached 
from our shoulders, were rolling about the cabin, 
and the malignant sprites of ocean were recklessly 
and remorselessly sporting with it as with a foot-ball. 

We entered the magnificent bay of New York, 
lighted by the glorious August moon with her 
myriads of attendant stars, which, seen through the 
pure ether of the western firmament, seemed multi 
plied to infinity. The constellations of the belted 
Orion, the greater and lesser Bear, and others, ap- 
peared strangely familiar ; viewing them, we were 
fain to forget the thousands of miles which now 



216 THREE MONTHS OF MARRIED LIFE. 



separated us from the land of our birth. But our 
first step on terra firma quicklj dispelled the illu- 
sion. The disagreeables of the Custom House at 
an end, leaving our heavy baggage till the morrow, 
with difficulty we climbed into the heavy, hearse- 
like vehicle in waiting, which it seemed next to im- 
possible to enter, and once in, equally vain and futile 
to attempt the getting out. Tossed and tumbled 
about on the roughest of pavements, our heads still 
giddy from our recent sea-voyage, we arrived at 
that gorgeous palace, yclept the Fifth Avenue Ho- 
tel. Happily, Mr. D'Arcy, (unable through press of 
public business to meet us,) had kindly written to 
secure rooms, which insured to our party the atten- 
tion we should not otherwise have received. 

Here let me observe that I entirely endorse all 
that my talented countryman, Anthony Trollope, 
has stated regarding the inhospitality of the enor- 
mous American hotels, where weary and travel- 
worn ladies are forced to await in the wretched re- 
ception parlors, the often long delayed advent of the 
official charged to show^ them their rooms, while 
gentlemen, still more unfortunate, must attend in 
the office the favor for which they have humbly 
made supplication to His Majesty the Book-keeper. 
How difi'ercnt from the hearty welgome of " Mine 
Host" and his worthy spouse, in the cheerful, old- 



THREE MONTHS OF MARRIED LIFE. 217 



fashioned inns of England ; how cheerily the land- 
lord enters, and stirring the fire, makes his guests 
feel instantly at home ; while the good wife, were you 
an old acquaintance, could not proffer for you with 
greater kindness the best fare her house can afford. 
The pretty chambermaid, too, candle in hand, shows 
you to a clean, comfortable bedroom, leaving at the 
same time, all the requisites for your toilet ; and as 
you discuss your cutlet or roast chicken, the waiter 
tells you of all to be seen in the town and neighbor- 
hood. He closes the shutters and draws the curtains, 
and your glass of sherry or old port, as may be, 
has quite a home flavor, as you draw your easy-chair 
cosily before the bright, glad fire, which itself spark- 
les and crackles its welcome. 

I am not now describing the London or new railway 
hotels. Heaven forbid! they are less comfortable, and 
far more expensive than those in America ; but I al- 
lude to the charming " hostelries" of the olden times, 
some of which still exist, though " few and far be- 
tween." Thanks, however, to the kind consideration 
of Mr. D'Arcy, we were ushered at once to our 
suite of elegantly furnished rooms, only too thank- 
ful to seek and find repose in the luxurious beds of 
this splendid Hotel. On awakening, next morning, 
my first impression of New- York was as if I saw 
pictured before me, in giant proportions, one of the 



218 



THREE MONTHS OF MARRIED LIFE. 



toy towns with their many colored honses, inter- 
spersed with green trees, that used to come to me 
in large oval deal boxes in the days of my youth. 
Red brick, grey, brown, white, dark chocolate stone 
— all of multiform size and shape, such is the des- 
cription of the dwellings, in this metropolis of the 
west, now decked in its mantle of summer foliage. 

Our heroine had been wedded about three 
months — was she blessed in her second union more 
than in her first marriage ? 

My kind and gentle readers, she was not happy — 
yet she was content. But had she ever before 
indulged in any illusions, as regards Sir Percy, they 
must have quickly faded. Even on returning 
from the Church, his bride at his side, not one word 
of affection did the newly made husband utter; of 
himself alone he spoke — his position, his future ; but 
then, to be sure, he was turned of fifty, and as 
Byron observes, rather than one husband at that 
mature age, 

" 'Twere better to have two, at five-and-twentj.'* 

This was the beginning of sorrows. 

Immediately after the breakfast, the impatient 
bridegroom, anxious, doubtless, to embrace the fair 
lady he dared now call his own, knocked at the door 



THREE MONTHS OF MARRIED LIFE. 219 



of her chamber, where, divested of her bridal cos- 
tnine, she was arraying herself in a becoming trav- 
elling toilette. When admitted, the grateful lover 

begged — now guess, dear ladies. I pray wliat • 

Wliy for the loan of a few hundred francs to pay 
his bill at the hotel. Rather early, methinks, to 
usurp marital rights over his wife's purse. Poor 
Evelyn's next fit of disgust was on the morrow of 
her bridal, when, in an elegant morning robe of the 
freshest muslin, her hair braided under the prettiest 
of caps, she with horror beheld Sir Percy enter the 
room, unwashed, uncombed, unbraced, and per- 
fectly innocent of a clean shirt. Seating himself at 
the breakfast table, he commenced feeding, utterly 
unconscious of having committed an unpardonable 
crime against good manners. Unfortunate Evelyn I 
so refined, so fastidious, so exquisitely neat and 
clean in her personal habits, to be brought to this. 
" Oh ! what a falling off was there !" 

Sir Percy united in his own person those opposite 
defects w4iich in others are usually compensated by 
corresponding virtues. He was at the same time a 
spendthrift, and the meanest of men. Hasty and 
imprudent, yet sly and cunning, with an appear- 
ance of frankness, he combined an utter disre- 
gard of truth. He seemed to lie for the pleasure of 
lying. His temper was alike quick, vindictive, and 



220 THREE MONTHS OF MARRIED LIFE. 



revengeful, and his character comprised the oppo- 
site qualities of weakness and obstinacy. A general 
lover of the female sex, he was utterly incapable of 
individual attachment. It was clear that the baro- 
net had married for money, but finding that his wife 
contented herself simply with paying their mutual ex- 
penses, and refused to place her fortune in his power, 
he actually began to dislike her and made no secret 
of the feeling. One illustration I will give, and this 
is but a solitary instance of the extraordinary line 
of conduct pursued by Sir Percy towards her he liad 
60 recently sworn to love, protect and cherish during 
the term of their natural life. 

Angered one night because Evelyn had left him a 
small portion of his own travelling expenses to pay, 
he rang up the servants of the hotel at midnight, and 
though we were to start on the following morning at 
break of day, he ordered his luggage to be transport- 
ed and his bed made in a room at the most distant end 
of the corridor, thus making himself and his wife of 
a month, the laughing-stock of the hotel. We do not 
pretend the man was altogether devoid of good im- 
pulses ; but the evil of his nature was strong — the 
good feeble. He was ungrateful, heartless, unprin- 
cipled. Evelyn had before known only tlie reverse 
of the picture ; she had been adored, petted, spoiled. 
How could she conceive so exceptional a character 



THREE MONTHS OF MA.RRIED LIFE. 221 

as that of Sir Percy ? How bear with him ? Dear 
friends, she did bear with him, and she was not 
wretched, for she now knew that all trials are the 
just retribution for past sins committed, past duties 
unperformed. Alas ! we cannot escape the past, 
still does it pursue us like an avenging spectre; 
and so she resolved to endure all, looking no 
longer to earth for bliss, living ever in the 
sweet calm and beauty of the inner life, which 
proceeds from the Christ who shines on the souls 
of all who will receive him as the pure and per- 
fect law. 

No longer spell-bound by her passionate love for 
D'Arcy, he was yet dear — dearer to her than ever, 
for to him alone she owed all her strength to bear, all 
her courage to do ; through him she had been enabled 
to behold the radiant, the immeasureable life of the 
beyond, as the one great reality of our being, 
compared to which this earth life, did it last a 
century, is but as a span, a point in eternity, " a 
dream when one awaketh." Oh, had she real- 
ized these blessed truths in earliest youth, how 
different might have been her fate! But, re- 
pulsed by narrow - minded sectarianism, mis- 
called religion, she had strayed without a guide 
in devious paths. 



222 THREE MONTHS OF MARRIED MFB. 

The idea of a future existence had then loomed 
darkly before her young imaginations as a vague 
terror, a portentous and lurid superstition forc- 
ing her to an unwilling lip - service of prayer. 
'Now it was a glorious inspiration — hourly in- 
fluencing her, and turning the common inci- 
dents of life into occasions for thanksgiving. 

For she knew that the Infinite Father was call- 
ing his erring child home through her loves and 
through her griefs. 

With this sweet conviction can tribulation harm 
her ? I trow not. Rather do her crosses and her 
trials cause her lonely and unsatisfied heart to rise 
each day more purely, tenderly, devotedly, upward 
towards God. Then, too, she tremblingly believes 
she may, in a brighter sphere, be united in the 
sweet connubial tie to one who shall fully realize 
the ideal of her soul. So, loving and beloved, she 
will no longer dwell 

• As one companionless 
In essence, heart distressed and pining ever 
With anguished yearning for a tenderness 
Forever widely sought, experienced never."* 



» " Lyric of the Golden Age," by Rev. T. L. Harris. 



THREE MONTHS OF MAKRIED LIFE. 



223 



Is she mistaken ? I cannot think so. Is it possi- 
ble to form too exalted an idea of the jojs " God 
bath prepared for them that love him," which, we 
are told, " it hath not entered into the heart of man 
to conceive ?" Yet, we may faintly shadow those 
ecstatic raptures, if we remember that every faculty 
of the mind, each affection of the spirit, will then 
be fully and forever occupied in fulfilling its highest 
destinies — Love, Knoavledge, Use.* Sublime trin- 
ity ! Such the occupations of the angels throughout 
eternity ; and for those who here exercise them- 
selves in these Christian graces, heaven has already 
beo:un on earth ! 

Nor do these truly catholic doctrines militate 
against a life of activity here — they are rather 
anti-monastic — teaching that the life of the body is 
necessary for the soul, and that the happiness of the 
spirit hereafter will be proportionate to the use we 
make of all our faculties and talents in the terres- 
trial state ; while the contrary must be expected in 
the world of spirits, from a life of idleness ; truly 
blessed they 

in this loud stunning tide 
Of human care and crime, 
With whom the melodies abide 

♦ See Swedenborg's works ; also, " Arcana of Christianitj," bj 
Eev. T. L. Harris. 



224 THREE MONTHS OF MARRIED LIFE. 



Of th' everlasting chime ; 

Who carry music in their heart 

Through dusky lane and wrangling mart, 

Flying their daily task with busier feet. 

Because their secret souls a holier strain repeat."* 

* " Kehle's Christian Year." 



CHAPTER XXYII. 



FIFTH AVENTTE HOTEL. 

LADY Montgomery's dlary. 

New York^ Aug. \Oth. — Seated in the window 
of our parlor, I once more write my thouglits in my 
journal. The wind is sultry — scarce a movement 
8tirs the trees in Madison Square, although the snn 
has long since sunk below the horizon. Mary is play- 
ing Chopin's music on a fine piano of Ch^kering's, 
sent here to wait our arrival — a graceful attention 
from Philip D'Arcy. I have just implored dear 
Mary to repeat that Impromptu, to which the twi- 
light lends additional charm. Oh ! how infinitely 
do I prefer instrumental to vocal music, especially 
to the conventionalism of the modern school of Ital- 
ian singing; even when the latter is well executed, 
(which is rare) you know each intonation which 
will be given 3 all is too material, it chains you down 



226 



FIFTH AVENUE HOTEL. 



to its own level — while tlie listening to a classical 
instrumental sjmpliony is like following a long, 
closely -connected chain of reasoning, and at the same 
time you are inspired with a thousand new ideas and 
sensations; or the phrases of musical diction accom- 
pany you in the train of thought you are at the time 
pursuing — brightening, poetizing al]. How 1 love 
to wander with the serious, philosophic Beethoven, 
through mazes of tangled modulations, at the same 
time clear and intricate, to revel in the delicious 
harmonized melodies of the divine Mozart, to drink 
in the weird and plaintive tones of the melancholy 
Weber, to muse, and sigh with the poet pianiste 
Chopin, criticising naught, analyzing naught, float- 
ing as it were, in an ocean of sweet sounds, lost in 
a reverie of ineffable bliss. Oh ! if our most intense 
and delicious emotions are those of the mind, the 
spirit, who can say that the individual perishes with 
the worthless clay of the body ! 

lltL — had written thus far when Philip D'Arcy 
entered, unexpected — unannounced. Oh ! sweet 
surprise ! if partings here are painful, there is at least 
compensation in again meeting those we lovej when 
the charm of their dear presence is as sunlight af- 
ter storm, as rest to the weary — as the fragrance of 
spring flowers after the snows of winter. In D'Arcy 
especially, as I have before mentioned, this power 



FIFTH AVENUE HOTEL. 



227 



of fascination is remarkable; lie enters, and your 
very soul is illumined with gladness, he departs, and 
a shadow falls on all around. Softly, tenderly, hap- 
pily, we conversed in the dim twilight, the three I 
love most on earth. 

Sir Percy was from home — he is rarely with us — 
D'Arcy expressed the desire to make my husband's 
acquaintance. My husband^ how strangely from 
his lips did those words grate on my ear. 

Aug. 15th. — Since I last wrote in my diary, only 
a few days have elapsed, and yet what events ! It 
appears to me, as if I had dreamed a horrible dream 
and have at last awaked. We had decided on leav- 
ing the city on the morrow, escorted by D'Arcy, for 
his beautiful villa on the Hudson. Sir Percy, was, 
as usual, out — but Philip determined to wait his re- 
turn in order to see him, and arrange with him about 
our journey — as yet they had never met. 

Mary had retired early, feeling unwell, but at my 
request Ella remained to await with us Sir Percy's 
appearance. At about eleven we heard his heavy 
step in the corridor, and he entered the room. 

" What, not yet in bed ?" he said. 

" I waited," I replied, " to present you " 

The sentence was never finished, for at this mo- 
ment D'Arcy emerged from the shadow, into the 
full glare of the gas-light. I saw Sir Percy stagger, 



228 



FIFTH AVENUE HOTEL. 



as a drunken man, and turn almost pale. Thinking 
him ill, I would have sprung towards him, but Philip 
caught my wrist and held it as in a vice. I turned 
to look at him. To say that hatred and scorn flashed 
from his eyes were little, his entire form seemed di- 
lated with passion, his eyes glowed and flamed like 
live coals, his lip and nostril expressed the most 
profound contempt. 

The baronet, on the other hand, seemed paralyzed 
with terror ; his fingers worked, and his hands trem- 
bled fearfully ; his eyes (never able to support a 
look without flinching), now rolled in restless 
agony. D'Arcy paused only for a moment, as the 
tiger before his deadly spring — then, with one bound 
he cleared the space between himself and his vic- 
tim : " Oh ! cursed, cursed serpent," he muttered, be- 
tween his clenched teeth, " how darest thou defile 
this pure Eden with the foul slime of thy presence ? 
Demon in human form," and the delicate and 
spiritual-looking man shook his sturdy and muscular 
adversary as a reed, " demon, I say, how darest thou 
violate the sanctity of this angel home. Yile, piti- 
less wretch, where is poor Alice Yivian ? Answer, if 
thy lying tongue can frame one word of truth, didst 
thou not wed her, break her heart, drive her to mad- 
ness, and then shut her up with gibbering maniacs 
in a madhouse? and now she lives — no denial, I say," 



FIFTH AVENUE HOTEL. 



229 



(as the hardened culprit made a movement of dissent), 
" she lives ! by Heaven, she lives, thy wronged, thy 
wretched wife ; a wreck in soul as in body. Oh ! 
may the curse of a desolate heart and blighted af- 
fections recoil upon thee, may rest forsake thy 
pillow, and peace be forever a stranger to thy couch, 
that thy hard heart may be shivered at last, as 
into fragments, by blank despair — despair of pity 
here, of mercy hereafter ! May God himself be 
deaf to the prayers wrung from thy bitter agony. 
No, go — I will not blaspheme : if thou bee'st a devil 
I cannot kill thee. Go, miserable man, and repent 
— if thou canst." 

D'Arcy still held the cowed and trembling 
wretch in his nervous grasp. Ella, pale, almost faint- 
ing, had quitted the room. Silent, motionless, 
horror-stricken, with dilated eyes, I watched, as in 
a nightmare, the fearful scene, powerless to speak 
or scream. I saw Philip at length open the door, 
violently ejecting, almost flinging the man from the 
room. I saw no more — my trembling limbs refused 
any longer to sustain me. I sank into the nearest 
chair, sick — sick, covering my face with my hands, 
a film before my eyes. On recovering consciousness, 
I was alone, and all was still. 



CHAPTER XXVIII. 



SHADOWS. 

ELLA TO PHILIP d'aKCT. 

The Retreat, September , 18 . 

Forgive me for what I am about to write. In- 
deed, I feel that I am performing a duty, even 
though my dear mother is ignorant of this step. I 
must, however, add, that I have the full approba- 
tion of one who never fails to judge rightly — I 
mean our good, sensible friend, Mary Mildmay. 
Dear Mr. D'Arcy, esteeming and respecting you 
above all men living, as I do, you will think it 
strange, when I tell you that I have come to the 
conclusion, seriously and advisedly, that I can never 
be your wife ; and, believe me, this resolution is 
irrevocable. As a favor, I implore you not to at- 
tempt to change my determination. It would be 



SHADOWS. 



231 



utterly fruitless. Would you know my reasons? 
They are many. 

When you honored me, by asking my hand, I 
was a mere child. I am now a woman, and must 
exert the prerogative of my sex — that of choice — in 
a matter which concerns my own happiness, and 
your future welfare. Know, then, that I am in- 
spired to say to you, that, in marrying me, you 
will jpass by your destiny. The impression is so 
strong that I cannot, if I would, shake it off ; but 
must obey, as if a voice from heaven had spoken. 
Do you not know, too, that I liave sworn never to 
forsake my beloved mother in her sorrow and her 
loneliness ? And can I falsify my oath ? In order 
to remove all further doubt from your mind, know, 
likewise, that it is not to me that you owe your life. 
Poor little Ella nursed you tenderly, it is true, 
through your convalescence ; but it was her dear 
mother who recalled you, by the magnetism of her 
health-producing touch, from the trance of death ; 
and, in so doing, she herself nearly perished. If I 
have yet another reason for thus writing — that I 
must ever preserve profoundly secret. 

One parting favor I request : let this make no 
difference. Come to us as before. Be still a friend — 
prove thus to me that I have your pardon — for- 



232 



SHADOWS. 



give — forget. Yes, forget all, except that I shall 
never cease to pray for your happiness, and that 
1 am, as ever, 

Your affectionate friend, 

Ella. 

My readers may readily imagine how highly I 
approved my young friend's dignified and womanly 
letter. I had never thought them suited either in 
years or in tastes. Ella, lovely, sweet, innocent, 
intelligent, was yet scarcely the companion required 
by a man of D'Arcy's intellect and superior mind. 
Their temperaments, too, were similar, each being 
outwardly cold, reserved, calm, unimpulsive. l^ow 
I have invariably found that the happiest unions 
proceed from similarity of taste, but diversity of 
temperament. I was therefore satisfied as to the wis- 
dom of my Ella's decision. We had now been 
staying about a fortnight in this lovely place, where 
D'Arcy, on the plea of very pressing business at 
Washington, had excused himself from escorting 
us. He had, however, sent his confidential servant 
with us, as courier, having telegraphed to his house- 
keeper to have all in readiness on our arrival at 
" the Retreat." And in truth the house was fur- 
nished with a luxury only to be attained by the 
union of refined taste with great wealth in its 



SHADOWS. 



233 



owner. We discerned the ever-presiding hand of 
affection in the recently-arrived harp and piano, 
and in the works of modern literature, and late 
numbers of periodicals which filled the shelves, and 
encumbered the tables of the sitting-rooms. Some 
men never remember anything — D'Arcy had that 
double memory of heart and head which never for- 
gets the most minute arrangement or least matured 
intention. Poor Evelyn, humiliated, heart-broken 
at the wicked deception which had been practiced 
upon her, loathing her position of reputed wife to 
such a villain, was glad to hide her burning sense 
of shame in complete solitude, happy even, that 
D'Arcy, in respectful sympathy, delicately kept 
aloof for a time. The latter had not yet replied to 
Ella's letter, but in about ten days he wrote to Eve- 
lyn a few lines, expressing the fear that business 
might detain him another month at Washington, 
but that the moment he could hope for a few days' 
recreation, he would visit his friends at " The Ke- 
treat." He hinted a fear that he had alarmed her- 
self and her sweet Ella, and asked pardon if his un- 
controllable indignation had caused him to forget 
for the first time what is due to the presence of la- 
dies. This slight allusion was the only one he made 
to having received Ella's letter of dismissal. Strange 
Being, and unlike all others, I thought ! — 



234 



SHADOWS. 



And tfie days passed onward, and Evelyn was made 
acquainted by her daughter that her engagement 
with D'Arcy was at an end, and the sad mother care- 
fully scrutinized each look and movement of her child 
— for with the exaggeration of love, she could ill be- 
lieve that one who had been chosen by Philip D'Arcy 
as his bride, could live without him, and be hap- 
py. So she tenderly watched lest the delicate rose 
should fade from that young cheek, lest the soft 
blue eyes should look dim, and lack their wonted 
lustre. It did strike me that the young girPs step 
was less elastic, and that she more frequently than 
was her wont, sought the solitude of her chamber. 
But I persuaded Evelyn that the shock experienced 
by poor Ella, on the discovery of Sir Percy's per- 
fidious conduct, and her sympathy for her mother's 
now blighted life, suflBiciently accounted for this 
apparent change in her. 

And now the glorious Indian Summer pervades 
the atmosphere with a glowing and intense heat, the 
heavens wear a deeper tint of azure, the forests 
clothed in their Autumn foliage, varying from the 
palest shade of gold, and the softest green, to the 
richest and most brilliant scarlet, and the deepest 
crimson, remind you of the trees in the fabled gar- 
den of Aladdin, whose branches were pendant with 
the weight of rubies, emeralds, topaz and other pre- 



SHADOWS. 



235 



cioTis stones, so wonderfully gorgeous are the J^o 
vember tints of the I^orth American forests, so un- 
like anything ever beheld in the Old World. It 
seems almost as if nature, prophetic of coming decay, 
would array herself for the last time in her gayest and 
richest attire, and like Cleopatra of old queen it even 
on her couch of death. 

And as one fine evening we sat in the verandah, 
enjoying the fresh breezes, and looking on the deep 
and rapid Hudson, we observed the splendid large 
steamer stop opposite the landing, and a few passen- 
gers enter the small boat which rowed towards shore. 
Listlessly we watched, soothed by the quiet beauty 
of the scene. A quarter of an hour may possibly have 
elapsed, when hearing the door open, we turned glad- 
ly to perceive and joyfully welcome Philip D'Arcy. 



CHAPTER XXIX. 

FOEEGLEAMS. 

It is evening ; the air is soft and balmy, the gor- 
gous sunset flushes the mountain tops, and falling 
on the gladsome river causes it to glitter like mol- 
ten gold. The advancing steamer, heavy with its 
freight of human hearts, their loves and their cares, 
is enveloped in a glow of hazy light ; the clear mir- 
ror of the crystal Hudson reflects the blue, un- 
clouded expanse of the heavens. The acacias gen- 
tly wave, and the aspens tenderly quiver in the lan- 
guid air. A moment, and the amber sun sinks be- 
low the horizon, and white-robed twilight advances 
stealthily, as a holy nun bearing incense ; softly she 
distils with fairy fingers, the sparkling dew-drops, 
and the water-lilies close their waxen petals, and the 
birds fold their weary wings, all but the nightingale, 
who ever maketh melody. Kow the dragon-fly 
awakes, and the glancing fish make ripple on the 
water : the cricket chirps, and the glow-worm and 



F0REGLEAM8. 



237 



her sister, the fire-fly, prepare their tiny lamps. How 
blissful a calm steals over the senses ; what sweet 
peace pervades the soul attuned to the harmonies of 
nature. On such a night as this did Philip D'Arcy 
and Evelyn wander forth in the clear obscure, their 
feet sought the green paths where the cool moss grew 
beside the bubbling streamlet, and the night flowers 
wept beneath the silent stars, dreamily they saun- 
tered side by side, their souls permeated with the 
placid tenderness of tliat soft hour. They spoke not, 
yet Evelyn felt through her entire being, the 
passionate gaze of those deep eyes, and the delicious 
consciousness that she was beloved glowed on her 
cheek and caused her eyelids to droop in timid 
emotion ; they spake not, for they dared not break 
the ineffable charm of that mute language. Yet 
D'Arcy must leave that night, and he had much 
to say, and Evelyn, by the instinct of love, 
knew that he had much to say, and yet they 
could not find it in their heart to break the spell, 
the elysium of that silent hour. But Philip must 
no longer keep silence, "Evelyn," he murmured 
softly, and it was the first time he had thus named 
her, "I know not how I shall support absence 
from — from my friends — from you." 

" You will return," she whispered. 

" Return — ah ! if God spare my life to happiness 



238 



F0REGLEAM8. 



■ — to love. Evelyn, forgive — pardon, my mistake ; 
tlie fatal misapprehension, not of niy heart — oh ! 
do not think it; but I believed — I feared you loved 
another." 

" Never^ Philip ! Oh ! I know it now, too well 
Then in words of burning eloquence, he poured 
forth the long restrained passion ot his soul. He 
told how that she was the one love of his life; how 
that all past feelings were cold and worthless com 
pared to this ; how his very being was entwined 
with hers ; and kneeling at her feet he besought her 
to become his bride — his own. 

Though the intense joy of that moment was al- 
most an agony, Evelyn by a supreme effort mas- 
tering her agitation, besought her lover to rise, then 
she said, sadly, sorrowfully, tearfully, but with firm- 
ness : 

"Too late — too late. Philip, this can never be." 

"Never? Oh, God ! Evelyn, do not jest. Can 
it be that after all, I am indifferent to you ?" 

She turned upon hitn a look of such fond, such 
devoted, such adoring love, that he would have 
caught her to his breast, but he dared not — so timid, 
so respectful, is true love. 

" Philip, you are dear — dearer to me than exist- 
ence. From the first moment I beheld you, you 



FOREGLEAMS. 



239 



have been the star of my destiny ; and yet, I repeat, 
I never, never can be yours." 

" And that lip, the very arch of Cupid's bow— 
those perfect lips, where love in smiles and dimples 
holds his throne — can they frame such cruel words. 
Sweetest, this is no time for coquetry." 

" Ah ! Philip, speak not of that fatal beauty which 
has ever been my curse. Hear me with patience. 
Your affection to me is beyond all price ; but, yet, 
far more do I prize your honor. Never, oh ! never, 
may the un wedded wife of Sir Percy Montgomery 
become the bride of the noble, the peerless D'Arcy. 
The world " 

" What of that ?" broke in Philip. 

" Nothing, when we act rightly — everything 
when we do wrong. Never through Evelyn shall 
the heartless world have reason to cast a slur on the 
fair fame of him she venerates above all men; nev- 
er shall it be said that his name is no longer untar- 
nished. Philip, the mother of your once betrothed 
can not, must not, name you husband. We must, 
therefore, part." 

" Part, Evelyn ? In pity, say not so ! My life — 
my love — my bird of beauty — we will forsake the 
haunts of men ; together will we fly to distant 
climes — there, alone in the wilds of a yet virgin sol- 
itude, will we live each for the other only, and earth 



240 



F0REGLEAM8. 



shall become for us a second Eden. Say, sweet 
one ! shall it not he so ?" 

For one moment only did she waver. Tlie idea 
of such bliss was too intoxicating — her brain reeled 
as in delirium. The temptation to give up all for 
him was too strong. A moment, and she would 
have sunk upon his breast, breathless, fainting, over- 
come — when, suddenly, she seemed to behold, over 
against the dark sycamore grove, the form of Ella — 
her child — her first-born — her only one — the long 
fair hair, dank and uncurled, floating in the dewy 
night — the sweet young face pale and sad. The 
semblance vanished: but, once more, Evelyn lis- 
tened to her better angel. Self was forgotten — the 
weakness past — the struggle over. Turning on her 
beloved a look which he never ceased to remem- 
ber — a look which consoled him in all troubles, and 
which ever inspired him to noble deeds, because in 
that pure glance earthly passion had given place to 
celestial love, she said, gently, but decisively, and 
without wavering — " We have both duties to per- 
form ; you will serve your country — be it mine to 
protect my child, to soothe the suffering, to console 
the afflicted. Ah ! me — I have much to redeem in 
the past." 

" Cruel and unkind ! — and since when have you 
thus changed?" 



FOREGLEAMS. 



241 



"Since I have known you, Philip. All that is 
good in me I owe to you alone — and to you, next 
God, I look for strength and courage to persevere." 

" And 80 help me Heaven, you shall not look in 
vain!" rejoined her lover, now restored to better 
feeling. " But must we part ?" 

" Yes — more than ever beloved — here for a time, 
to be united forever ere long, when made * perfect 
through suffering,' we shall be found worthy to at- 
tain to the joys of angelhood. In the faith of this 
sweet hope, I can bear to part on earth for ever 
even from you." 

Evelyn's eyes beamed with an almost supernatu- 
ral radiance ; and as the moon, bursting from forth 
a cloud that had momentarily veiled her splendor, 
shone full upon her chiselled features, she almost 
looked a denizen of that world to which she aspired. 
But the light of inspiration was soon quenched in 
tears of pardonable human sorrow ; and, as Philip 
strained her to his wildly-throbbing heart, their 
lips met, and their souls blended in one long, long 
kiss — the first — the last — seal of their union for 
eternity. Surely the angels were present, and 
smiled benignantly on their pure and holy espou- 
sals. 



CHAPTER XXX. 



00N0LU8I0N. 

And Philip has departed, and Evelyn is alone 
with the sweet memories of that thrice blessed eve, 
alone with her undying love, her high resolve. No, 
not alone, for ever in spirit she beholds deep 
within the pure and liquid wells of those be- 
loved eyes, the fond gaze of unutterable tender- 
ness, for ever she looks beyond this weary vale o# 
tears, and sees in faith, the golden gates unclose 
through which the radiance of the Divine Sun 
streams downward, to enlighten the fields of care. 

And moons have waxed and waned, and her 
Philip is now a General in the Federal Army, his 
name on every lip, his praise on every tongue. And 
thus it must ever be. Men must do great and heroic 
deeds — and we must endure and suffer. Which is 
the truer heroism ? But we, too, may look beyond, 
and upward to the ever present One who, if during 
the Divine Humanity of His earth life. He had occa- 



CONCLUSION. 



243 



sion, not unfrequently, to rebuke the errors and fal- 
sities of mankind, was ever tender and compassion- 
ate to the faults and failings of woman. 

Oh ! my sisters — " Be ye also merciful, as He is 
merciful." 



THE END. 



1863. 




A NEW LIST OF 



BOOKS 

ISSUED BY 

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(late KUDD & CAELETON,) 

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^lEW YORK. 





NEW BOOKS 
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Tbe Moral History of Woman. 
Companion to Michelet's " L*Amour," from the French, $1.25, 

Motber Goose for Grown Folks. 
Humorous and satirical rhymes for grown people, 75 cts, 

Tbe Kelly's and tbe O'Kelly's. 
Novel by Anthony Trollope, a uthor of " Doc tor Thorne," $ i .5 a 



BY GARLETON; new YORK 







Tbe Great Tribalation. 

Or, Things coming on the earth, by Rev. John Gumming, D.D., 
author "Apocalyptic Sketches," etc., two series, each Si.oo. 

The Great Preparation. 
Or, Redemption draweth nigh, by Rev. John Gumming, D.D., 
author "The Great Tribulation," etc., two series, each $1.00. 

The Great Consummation. 
Sequel " Great Tribulation," Dr. Gumming, two series, $1.00. 

Teach us to Pray. 
A new work on The Lord's Prayer, by Dr. Gumming, $i.oo. 

The Slave Power. 
By Jas. E. Gairnes, of Dublin University, Lond. ed. $1.25. 

Game Fish of the North. 
A sporting work for Northern States and Ganada. Illus., $1.50, 

Drifting About. 
By Stephen C. Massett ("Jeemes Pipes"), illustrated, $1.25 

The Flying Dutchman. 
A humorous Poem by John G. Saxe, with illustrations, 50 cts. 

Notes on Shakspeare. 
By Jas. H. Hackett, the American Gomedian (portrait), $1.50. 

The Spirit of Hebrew Poetry. 
By Isaac Taylor, author " History of Enthusiasm," etc., $2.00. 

A liife of Hugh MiUer. 
Author of " Testimony of the Rocks," &c., new edition, $1.50, 

A Woman's Thoughts about Women. 
By Miss Dinah Mulock, author of " John Halifax," etc., $1.00. 

Curiosities of Natural History. 
An entertaining vol., by F. T. Buckland ; two series, each $1.25. 

The Partisan L<eader. 
Beverley Tucker's notorious Southern Disunion novel, $1.25. 

Cesar Birotteau. 
First of a series of Honore de Balzac's best French novels, $1.00. 

Petty Annoyances of Married Life. 
The second of the series of Balzac's best French novels, $1.00. 

The Alchemist. 
The third of the series of the best of Balzac's novels, $1.00. 

Kugenie Grandet. 
The fourth of the series of Balzac's best French novels, $1.00. 

The National School for the Soldier. 
Elementary work for the soldier ; by Gapt. Van Ness, 50 cts. 



LIST OF BOOKS PUBLISHED 



Tom Tiddler's Ground. 

Charles Dickens's new Christmas Story, paper cover, 25 cti 

National Hymns. 
An essay by Richard Grant White. 8vo. embelUshed, $1.00. 

George Brimley. 
Literary Essays reprinted from the British Quarterlies, $i.2q 

Tbomas Bailey Aldrieh. 
First complete collection of Poems, blue and gold binding, $1.00. 

Out of His Head. 
A strange and eccentric romance by T. B. Aldrich, $1.00. 

The Course of True Love 
Never did run smooth. A Poem by Thomas B. Aldrich, 50 cts. 

Poems of a ITear. 
By Thomas B. Aldrich, author of" Babie Bell," &c., 75 cts. 

Tbe King's Bell. 
A Mediaeval Legend in verse, by R. H. Stoddard, 75 cts. 

The Morgesons. 
A clever novel of American Life, by Mrs. R. H. Stoddard, $1.00. 

Beatrice Cenci. 
An historical novel by F. D. Guerrazzi, from the Italian, $1.50. 

Isabella Orsini. 

An historical novel by the author of "Beatrice Cenci," $1.25. 

A Popular Treatise on Deafness. 

For individuals and families, by E. B. Lighthill, M.D., $1.00. 

Oriental Harems and Scenery. 

A gossipy work, translated from the French of Belgiojoso, $1.25. 
liOla Montez. 

Her lectures and autobiography, with a steel portrait, 81.25. 

John Doe and Richard Roe. 
A novel of New York city life, by Edward S. Gould, $1.00. 

Boesticks' Letters. 
The original letters of this great humorist, illustrated, $1.50, 

Plu-ri-bus-tah. 
A comic history of America, by "Doesticks," illus., 81.50. 

The Elephant Club. 
A humorous description of club-life, by ** Doesticks," $1.50. 

Vernon Grove. 
A novel by Mrs. Carohne H. Glover, Charleston, S. C, $1.00. 

The Book of Chess Literature. 
A complete Encyclopaedia of this subject, by D. W. Fiske,$i.50. 



£T CARLETON, NEW YORK. 



1 



Tactics. 

Or, Cupid in Shoulder-straps. A West Point love story, % i .00. 

Sprees and Splashes. 
A volume of humorous sketches, by Henry Morford, 81.00. 

Around tlic Pyramids. 
A new book of adventure and travel, by Aaron Ward, $1.25. 

€Sarret Van Horn. 
Or, The Beggar on Horseback, by John S. Sauzade, 8 1.25, i 
Alfio Balzani. 

Or, The Diary of a Proscribed Sicilian, by D. Minnelli, $1.25. 

€biua and the Chinese. 
Being recent personal reminiscences, by W. L. G. Smith, $1.25. 
Transition. 

A Memoir of Emma Whiting, by Rev. H. S. Carpenter, % 1 .00. 
liUln. 

A novel of Life in Washington, by M. T. Walworth, $1.25. 

Iiyrics and Idyls. 
"Diamond Wedding," and other poems, by E. C. Stedman, 75 cts. 

The Prince's Ball. 
A humorous poem by Edmund C. Stedman, illustrated, 50 cts. 

Gen. Nathaniel liyon. 
The life and political writings of the late patriot soldier, $ 1 .00. 

Twenty Years aronnd the World. 

Volume of travel, by John Guy Vassar, Poughkeepsie, $2.50. 

Philip Tha^Eter. 

A new novel, with scenes in Cahfornia, one vol. i2mo., $1.00. 

From Haytime to HoppiMg:. 
A novel by the author of Our Farm of Four Acres," $1.00. 

Fast Day Sermons. 
Of 1861, the best Sermons by the prominent Divines, $1.25. 

J>ebt and Grace. 
The Doctrine of a Future Life, by Rev. C. F. Hudson, $1.25. 

Fort liafayette. 
A novel, by the Hon. Benjamin Wood, of New York, $i.oo, 

Romance of a Poor IToung Man. 
A capital novel from the French of Octave Feuillet, $1.00. 
Sarah Gould. 

Volume of miscellaneous poems, bound in blue and gold, 75 cts. 
The Monitor. 

A new book of travel, by Wm. Hoffman, illustrated, $1.50, 



8 



LIST OF BOOKS PUBLISHED 



England in Rhyme. 

A pleasant method for instructing children in History, 50 cts. 

Brown's Carpenter's Assistant. 
A practical work on architecture, with plans, large 4to., $5.00. 
Sybelle 

And other miscellaneous poems, by L , i2mo., cloth, 75 cts 

Wa-Wa- Wanda . 
A legend of old Orange County, New York, in verse, 75 cts. 

Husband vs. "Wife. 
A satirical poem, by Henry Clapp, Jr., illus. by Hoppin, 60 cts. 
Ronmania. 

Travels in Eastern Europe, by J. O. Noyes, illustrated, $1.50. 

The Christmas Tree. 
A volume of miscellany for the young, with illustrations, 75 cti. 
The Captive Nightingale. 

A charming little book for children, many illustrations, 75 cts. 

Sunshine through the Clouds. 

Comprising stories for juveniles, beautifully illustrated, 75 cts. 
Cosmogony, 

Or, the mysteries of creation, by Thomas A. Davies, $].5o. 

An Answer to Hugh Miller 
And other kindred geologists, by Thomas A. Davies, $1.25. 

Walter Ashwood. 
A novel by "Paul Siogvolk," author of " Schediasms," $1.00. 
Southwold. 

A new society novel by Mrs. Lillie Devereux Umsted, $1.00. 

Rallads of the War. 
A collection of poems for 1861, by George W. Hewes, 75 cts. 

Hartley Norman. 
A new and striking American novel ; one large i2mo., $1.25. 

The Vagabond. 
Sketches on literature, art, and society, by Adam Badeau, $1.00 

K:dgar Poe and His Critics. 
A literary critique by Mrs. Sarah Helen Whitman, 75 ctt. 

The New and the Old. 
Sketches in California and India, by Dr. J. W. Palmer, $1.25 

Up and Down the Irrawaddi. 
Adventures in the Burman Empire, by J. W. Palmer, $1.00. 

Miles Standish Illustrated. 
With photographs, by J. W. Ehninger, elegant 4to., $6.00.